Natural Disasters: Is your family prepared?
Families may become separated during the chaos of a natural disaster, especially when evacuation is required. It is important to plan for your family’s safety.
Safety tips for families
Review these recommendations in case your family is ever impacted by a natural disaster.
- Know where your children are at all times.
- Stay together.
- Take photos of your children with you when evacuated.
- Give your children identification information to carry with them, including his or her name, date of birth, address, phone numbers, etc. If your child is too young or otherwise unable to speak for themselves, consider writing their name, date of birth, parents’ names and phone numbers somewhere on his or her body in indelible marker.
- Email digital photos of all family members to extended family members and/or friends.
- Photocopy important documents and mail to a friend/relative in a safe location.
- Make a plan with your children, so they know what to do if your family becomes separated during an evacuation. Remind them of adults they can go to for help, such as a uniformed law enforcement officer or person with a nametag.
National Emergency Child Locator Center
In October 2006, Congress and President George W. Bush created the National Emergency Child Locator Center. This center is operated by NCMEC. When a national disaster is declared by the President, NCMEC may activate the NECLC and assist in the location of children and the reunification of families resulting from the disaster or subsequent evacuations.
In the event of a natural disaster, the National Emergency Child Locator Center will:
- Establish a toll-free hotline to receive reports of displaced children.
- Create a website to provide information about displaced children.
- Deploy staff to the location of a declared disaster area to gather information about displaced children.
- Provide information to the public about additional resources.
- Partner with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
- Refer reports of displaced adults to the Attorney General’s designated authority and the National Emergency Family Registry and Locator System.
On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast, forcing an unprecedented 411,000 people to evacuate. More than 5,000 children were separated from their families.
Within hours, the U.S. Department of Justice requested that NCMEC establish a hotline to handle calls of displaced children and adults. NCMEC also deployed thirty Team Adam consultants to the affected areas.
As a result of NCMEC’s efforts, the last of the 5,192 children displaced by the storm was reunited with her family in Houston, TX in March 2006.
Target is the Founding Sponsor of the National Emergency Child Locator Center.