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Recent Storms Remind Us To Prepare Now for Severe Weather

The tragic storms in Texas have brought to the forefront a reminder that we all need: It is essential to be prepared when natural disasters strike. We can't change the fact that nature can cause mass damage, but we can do everything possible to be ready when it happens. Sam Smith, MD, Surgeon in Chief with Arkansas Children's offers some tips and helpful information for parents so they can be confident when storms roll into the Natural State.

“Severe weather can be difficult for children of all ages. The best way to protect your family and provide some comfort on severe weather days is to start preparing now,” said Dr. Smith.

Dr. Smith said the first thing you can do is put together a supply kit to keep in your safe place so everything you need is in one place when the siren starts. Water and food should be the first things you put in the kit. Here are a few more items to put in your kit:

  • At least a gallon of water per person for three days
  • At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight/batteries
  • First Aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Infant formula and diapers


Just as essential is ensuring that everyone in your family knows what to do – in age-appropriate roles and language – in the event of a storm or tornado. Identify the safest place in your home for shelter – a basement, interior bathroom or closet, for example. With younger children, it is best to have a basic conversation about the storm and avoid any drama so they aren't frightened.

Of course, storms and the activity of preparing for a storm can frighten a young child. Dr. Nicholas Long, director of the Center for Effective Parenting on the Arkansas Children's Hospital campus, suggests that parents explain the situation simply and directly, providing only the information that a child truly needs.

Listen to your kids and encourage and anticipate their questions about storms, while offering reassurance. Remind them of the preparations you've taken as a family because their greatest concern will be their safety and the safety of their family members.

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