If a fire broke out in your home, would your child know what to do? If your child knows to get out of the house rather than hiding in the closet when fire breaks out, or is able to stay calm enough to get into a bathroom or closet with no windows when a tornado is coming, then this child is literally taking lifesaving actions, helping themselves and others.
Kids are disproportionately affected by emergencies and large scale disasters. Children typically represent 50-60% of those affected by disasters, despite making up only 25% of the general population*. The American Red Cross wants to help you teach your kids how to stay safe when facing danger and ensure their well-being, before, during, and after a disaster.
Preparedness is important for children of all ages. You can begin teaching children about emergencies at a young age. As children get older, you can add more detail and information. For example, kids will likely hear a smoke alarm at a very young age, even if only from burned toast. Teach them that a smoke alarm warns you about a fire and that they should leave the house if they hear it. For older kids, explaining some of the science behind an emergency, like what causes a hurricane, can make it more interesting.
Monster Guard, a free mobile app created by Red Cross, gives children a fun opportunity to prepare for disasters while gaming. Children between the ages of 7 and 11 learn ways to prepare and stay safe in home fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and other disasters by role-playing as different monster characters.
“The Monster Guard App provides a fun, gaming environment for youth to learn about fire prevention and what to do if a fire or other disaster occurs,” said Louise Welch Williams, regional CEO for the American Red Cross in South Carolina. “The intent is to empower children with knowledge and have them discuss what they’ve learned with family and household members.”
Set in the ‘Monster Guard Academy,’ children earn points as they identify hazards, locate a safe room in the house, and select items for their emergency supplies kit. They earn gold, silver or bronze medals based on the number of points they score. Star multipliers located throughout the episodes allow them to bump their scores even higher. If a player completes all the episodes, he or she will graduate and become a member of the ‘Monster Guard.’
Monster Guard is available for free in your App store or you can text 'MONSTER' to 90999 to receive a direct link to download the app. For more information on disaster preparedness for your entire family, visit redcross.org/get-help.