No matter where you live, it’s crucial that all families are prepared – as much as they’re able to be – for natural disasters, extreme weather events and other emergencies. We know that all too well here in Hawaii.
Unfortunately, when parents separate or divorce, revising their disaster preparedness plan so that it works for their new family dynamic is usually not at the top of their to-do list. However, the sooner it gets done, the better.
Most divorcing parents can agree that no matter how they might feel about each other, the important thing is for their children to be safe if they have to evacuate from their home or if a situation arises when they’re at school or with a caregiver. Let’s look at just a couple of things that separated or divorced parents need to consider.
Be sure the kids have emergency provisions in both homes
If you’re sharing custody of your children – even if they’re with one parent more than the other – both homes need to have go-bags for the kids as well as the adults in case you need to leave quickly. You should also keep enough food, medicine and other emergency provisions on hand in case you aren’t able to leave for a few days. Don’t forget the pets – especially if they transition between homes with the kids.
Make sure everyone has necessary contact information
Since you don’t know who will have the kids when an emergency happens, it’s essential that both parents have a full list of family and other parties they may need to contact. That can include people you wouldn’t normally call, like in-laws and neighbors and friends of your co-parent. Of course, your kids’ schools, after-school and weekend caregivers and daycare facilities should also have both parents’ contact info.
Your children should always have some kind of identification and emergency contact numbers with them at all times. Some parents even attach AirTags inside young children’s backpacks so they can locate them if they go missing.
If you and your co-parent are still working on your parenting plan, you might want to include your revised family disaster plan with it. By working on this during the divorce, you’ll have the advantage of legal guidance, if needed, as you do it. This also makes it one less thing to deal with later.