For Immediate Release:
October 21, 2005
Contact: DOH Press Office Doc Kokol 850-245-4111
** HURRICANE WILMA INFORMATION SHEET **
DOH Urges Disaster Preparation for Families
TALLAHASSEE – Children’s fears can stem from their imaginations,
and adults should take their feelings seriously. Words and actions
can provide reassurance to a child who feels afraid.
When talking to your child, be sure to present a realistic
picture that is both honest and manageable. Be aware that after a
disaster, children most fear that:
- They will be separated from
family, and they will be left alone.
- The event will happen again.
- Someone will be injured or killed.
DOH recommends assembling a kit for your child, including:
few favorite books, crayons and paper
- Puzzles, a board game, deck
- Two favorite small toys, such as a doll or action figure,
a stuffed animal
- Favorite blanket, pillow
- Pictures of family and
- Other special items that will comfort children
Children’s immunizations should be up-to date to protect from
vaccine-preventable diseases, including an unexpected outbreak
during a disaster.
- Keep a copy of your children’s complete
immunization histories in your disaster kit attached to the family
- All family members should also record the
date of their last tetanus-diphtheria shot in this record as well.
ADVICE ON COMMUNICATING WITH CHILDREN ABOUT DISASTERS
to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the American Academy of
Pediatrics (AAP) offered some advice on communicating with
children/adolescents during times of crisis.
It is important to communicate to children that the family circle
is strong. Children need to be assured by their parents that the
family is safe. Adolescents, in particular, can be hard hit by this
type of disaster. Parents should watch for signs such as sleep
disturbances, fatigue, lack of pleasure in activities previously
enjoyed and illicit substance abuse.
Overexposure to the media can be traumatizing. It is best not to
let children or adolescents repeatedly view footage of traumatic
events. Children and adolescents should not view these events alone.
Adults need to help children understand the emergency or disaster.
Discussion is critical. More information is available at
For further information, please contact your local county health
department or visit www.doh.state.fl.us or
The Florida Emergency Information Line: 1-800-342-3557
Public Information Emergency Support Function: 850-921-0384