Disaster Preparedness Tips for Babysitters
While it isn't a fun topic to think about when babysitting, it is a critical one: disaster preparedness. When you take on the responsibility of watching someone's children, you must also be ready to respond in emergency situations. And in Japan, those can be earthquakes, typhoons or tsunami, in addition to more "run-of-the-mill" emergencies like house fires or injury.
Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to prepare yourself. Most families should have their own supplies, communication and evacuation plans in place; your job is to ask about these things!
First and foremost, you should always know how to get hold of parents in the case of emergency. Be sure to get at least two contacts, in case one doesn't work. Trusted neighbors or nearby relatives are also great contacts to have if parents will be far away and you need more immediate help.
Contact information for the local police, fire station and medical centers or hospitals is also very important to have on-hand.
Most households in Japan should be prepared with emergency kits. Ask the parents where theirs are and if they don't have one, politely suggest they get some, ASAP! Find out where additional first aid products and fire extinguishers are, as well.
Every family should also have emergency communication and evacuation plans. These include methods of contact if parents and children are not together during the disaster, as well as officially designated meeting and evacuation areas if staying at home isn't possible or safe.
Review the family's plan with the parents and the kids (to make sure everyone is on the same page) and, if you babysit regularly for the same family, you can also do a practice drill with them so that you get to know evacuation routes and meeting places first-hand.
Our first priority when taking care of children is always their safety and well-being, so be sure to cover these bases ahead of every job!