Teen Tip Tuesday (by Kelly M)-How to Be Prepared for Emergencies (when you’re a teenager)!

4 Apr

What is preparedness?  Why do I need to worry about being prepared when I already have so much going on in my life? Well, as a teen myself, I think about and work toward being prepared daily for emergencies.

How to prepare for emergencies on Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

How to Be Better Prepared for Emergencies when You’re a Teen


How I Grew Up Learning to Prepare

Since becoming a Cub Scout at age eight, I have been taught different ways I can be prepared while camping, at home, or just down the street at the store.  I have learned important skills of how to safely handle a knife, start a fire, use a compass and map, and the best ways to properly sterilize water when the source is unknown.  Now as an Eagle Scout, I know the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared” well.

I have my Amateur Radio License.  (Yes, I am a “Ham.”)  I passed the license exam right after I turned 10 years old.  This has helped me be more prepared by knowing that I can communicate with other Hams when cell towers go down due to bad weather, on hikes with my troop, and when my family goes gold prospecting.

I took the Safe Sitter Course offered by our local fire department when I was 11.  It helped me become more prepared for when my younger brother ate some dishwasher detergent.  The training from the course helped me remain calm while I called 9-1-1.  Fortunately, he made a full recovery.

How I am Now Preparing as a Teen with My Family

My family and I are preppers.  While we have not been featured on a reality TV show like Doomsday Preppers® (though it would be fun to be on TV), we are becoming better prepared for emergencies.  Preparedness is a constant topic of conversation in our home (and not just at the dinner table).  As a family, we regularly engage in prep activities.

Where we live, the power can go out for days due to a severe storm (the wind, ice, snow, rain, or a combination of course).  We live with more volcanoes in our backyard than I can count on one hand.  Our area is currently overdue for a major earthquake as well as a volcanic eruption.  Floods are a common occurrence, thanks to all the liquid sunshine.  My family strives to be prepared for natural disasters.  Otherwise, we may regret the lack of preparedness during and after such an event.

We can cook without using electricity with our BBQ’s side burner and a camping stove with an oven.  We charge cell phones using battery backups.  My father even powers his CPAP machine (for his sleep apnea) using a deep-cycle marine battery with a charge controller (to control the voltage and amperage) connected to our solar panel in the daytime.

We have become more prepared by purchasing and filling go-bags with emergency supplies.  These go-bags double as backpacks for when we go camping with the Boy Scout troop or as a family.  My mother is a Certified Square Foot Gardening® (SFG) Instructor and helps others learn how to garden.  I was her first student.  I occasionally blog at her site, Gluten Free Preppers, on our prepping activities.


How Can You Be a More Prepared Teen?

Get involved!

Here are five ways you can become more prepared and help your family.

  1. Discuss, Plan, and Prepare with Your Family.

That’s right!  Work with your family, not against them.

Weekly discuss your plan on how to evacuate your home if there is a gas leak or fire.  Determine how you will communicate each week after evacuation.  At your weekly meetings, follow up on your family’s preparedness status.  Ask what you can do to increase it.

Plant a garden, get a rain barrel (check local and state laws before doing so), and stock up on food (perishable and non-perishable).  Be current with all vaccinations and shots to help reduce contracting viruses and bacteria that may come your way.

  1. Learn new skills.

Can you:

  • Start a fire?
  • Use a map and compass to find your way? No offense to Millennials: GPS does not work if your phone’s battery is dead.
  • Handle a knife without hurting yourself or others?
  • Forage for safe (not kill you if ingested) food if you get lost?
  • Identify wildlife without using Google®?
  • Cook using a Dutch Camp Oven?
  • Recognize Poison Ivy, Poison Sumac, and Poison Oak?

Dutch Ovens are a reliable way to cook food if the power is out, as they only require a stick lighter, newspaper, and charcoal briquettes.

These are important skills which would help immensely should disaster strike.

  1. Take classes.

Get trained!

First Aid training is available at fire stations and Red Cross® centers.  Some centers, like the Red Cross, may charge for training.  Local fire stations, like the Tacoma Fire Department, may offer no-cost courses for citizens in the area.

A wilderness survival course can teach you how start a fire, make a shelter, and learn about wildlife.  Our county and a local college extension branch offer classes on gardening and composting.  Does yours?

Youth C.E.R.T. training is available in many places all around the country!  C.E.R.T. stands for Community Emergency Response Team.  C.E.R.T. members help with disaster aftermaths in many ways.  To learn more about C.E.R.T. and other programs like it, visit http://www.fema.gov/community-emergency-response-teams.

Take the Safe Sitter course, siblings or no, as it will help if you are interested in babysitting.  It can help get you babysitting jobs.  Some parents are concerned and the certification may put some of their fears to rest.  Even if you do not babysit, what you learn may help you save a life one day.

Think about becoming a Ham Radio operator to broaden your communication options.  The ARRL website has more information on licensing and where to find classes near you.

  1. Work with your school or church.

Making it to school on time is important!  If school is canceled due to a disaster, then what happens?  Propose the idea of organizing a community garden on school property to the student council if there is not one already.  Bring the same idea forward to your church or other community-based organizations.  A garden can help feed the members of your community if the store’s shelves are picked clean.  Help teach others the gardening skills that you have learned so they can garden at home.

  1. Working with your community.

Community!  It is where you live.  Reach out and help your community prepare for emergencies.  See if there are events you can participate in such as emergency preparation fairs.  Speak at town council meetings, and approach the mayor and city council with a plan to increase preparedness.  Join a local disaster relief or a preparedness agency to learn new skills, meet other preppers, and share ideas.  Some preppers have gardens to feed themselves during the growing season.  Others sell off the excess to help pay for their other preps.  Still others may preserve their harvests by canning them in jars or dehydrating.

This is just the beginning…

And not of my post.  This is the beginning of your prepping journey.  There is much ahead as you seek to master the Way of the Prepper.  Utilize the many resources available to you on this journey including, (but not limited to), how-to videos, books, social media (Pinterest® is one of my mother’s favorites), TV shows, streaming services, and last, but not least, fellow preppers.

How are you becoming a more prepared teen?  What are you doing to help others become more prepared?  If you are an adult, have you helped teenagers get more prepared for emergencies?

Who says teens can’t be prepared?  Not me.

How to prepare for emergencies on Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

Teen Expert: Kelly H. Milligan is Gluten Free, an Amateur “Ham” Operator, Eagle Scout, small-scale miner, and writer.  He can be found blogging at www.GlutenFreePreppers.com and www.KellyHMilligan.com (a work in progress).

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