Thursday, December 12, 2013

Are you Ready for an Emergency?

This week marks the anniversary of a day no parent wants to have on their calendar, especially in the middle of this joyous holiday season.  But I'm going to step back from getting ready for the holidays for just a moment to remind us all to be ready for an emergency.

A year ago, a man suffering mental illness with access to a gun, walked into a school in Newtown, Connecticut and shattered the lives of the families of 26 children and teachers by opening fire in the their elementary school.  What's happened in the year since then? Have we moved forward in treating mental illness?  Have we done anything in limiting access to guns?  Are our schools any safer?  And how are those families coping with each next day without their loved one?

I don't think anyone would blame any of those families of the children and teachers who died in Sandy Hook to go into their homes and privately deal with their loss. But, many of them have unselfishly advocated for gun controls and school safety. It's more than admirable that they would use their loss to prevent another tragedy, to save another child, to preserve another family.  Their strength is amazing.

Robbie and Alissa Parker lost their 6-year old daughter Emilie on Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary.  Alissa said she always wondered a little bit about her daughter's school safety.  But she never asked any questions.

Watch their message here -

Have you thought about your child's school's emergency plans?  How do people access the building? But also, how are the children safe inside in case of an emergency?  That emergency may be a person who doesn't belong there, an occurrence outside and not related to the school, or a weather emergency which requires the school to keep the children in place.  What is the plan for teachers, for students, and for parents? How will you know what's going on?

Save the Children encourages parents to ensure that their family and school have an emergency plan and to know what that plan is.  Download from their website an emergency checklist  for your family and child care providers, and don't be shy in asking your principal - what happens in case of emergency?

Remember the Parker's faces, that look of pain of losing your child.  Do what you can to make your school safe.

Thank you to Save the Children for sending me these materials and allowing me to share the Parker's message.  My prayers to the families who lost a loved one in Sandy Hook Elementary school, that they be comforted and healed in their mourning.  

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