In recent days the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been getting spanked pretty hard for being unprepared for cyberthreats. Since that mule has been pretty well beat to death, I’m not going to chime in on that. Instead, in the immortal words of the great philosopher sage Monty Python “And now for something completely different”.
I’d like you to know about something the DHS is doing right – the Ready Kids Campaign. From this press release on September 17:
Today the Department of Homeland Security’s Ready Kids Campaign announced with Sesame Workshop a new tool on emergency preparedness for parents of young children called “Let’s Get Ready!” This guide aims to get families planning together for emergencies through simple activities and games that focus on talking to young children about the people, places and things that will keep the family safe during an emergency.
“Emergencies can happen at any time with little or no warning and, as we’ve seen with recent natural disasters, personal and family preparedness are critically important,” said Erin Streeter, Director of the Ready Campaign. “‘Let’s Get Ready!’ gives parents the tools they need to talk to their young children in a very kid-friendly and non-threatening way and instill in them important information to help them deal with the unexpected.”
Specifically, the guide offers tips from Sesame Street’s and Rosita on how families can prepare their children for an emergency in age-appropriate ways such as:
- Everyone, including young children, can play a role in planning for the unexpected.
- Creating an emergency kit and plan that the entire family practices and shares is important.
- Helping children learn personal information such as a phone number, their full names and the full names of their parents or caregivers, is helpful in case of any emergency.
If you have children you should definitely take advantage of this excellent resource. This is something that every family needs to consider seriously. Just like every business should have a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) and a Business Continuity Plan (BCP), (I’ll bet you were wondering how I was going to relate this to security) you need to have a Family Disaster Preparedness Plan (FDPP). Except that your FDPP is way more important than any DRP or BCP because this is your family, not some business that we’re talking about. It’s critical to note that no disaster plan (or any plan for that matter) has value if all of the players don’t know their parts. In the same way that it is critical for a business to make sure all employees, especially those in leadership roles, have and understand current copies of the DRP and BCP documents, all members of your family, must understand your FDPP. Furthermore, (and this is where many if not most businesses fall down) you must practice the plan. That’s right, it’s very well and good to have a plan that calls for tuning the weather radio to the correct station in case of a tornado warning, but it doesn’t work too well if you don’t know what station that is or where to find the radio.
So this is where you can really leverage the “Let’s Get Ready!” resources. It can help you devise, disseminate and practice your family’s FDPP. While this specific program is targeted at families with young children, there are links on this page to many excellent resources. I will admit that I learned a few things and picked up some ideas for my family’s FDPP. According to the site, this month, as part of Emergency Preparedness month, Sesame Workshop will be distributing 150,000 of the free kits to families. These kits include not only the downloadable materials on the site, but a DVD that is great for young kids.
So get going on your own FDPP, and definitely check out the resources at DHS. Seriously, they’re not just about fighting terrorism and cyberthreats. Which I guess is a good thing. Sorry couldn’t resist.
Information on “Let’s Get Ready!” is here. Materials are available in English and Spanish.