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Scene of smokey sky and red sunPeople usually think about using the safety skills we teach to stop danger from a stranger or abusive person. But they can go way beyond that.

Read on to discover how Kidpower training helped a family stay safe in a disaster.

“For so many months this year, the news was filled with images of roaring infernos, scarlet against the night stars. By day, smoke blanketed the sky, and the sun stared through it like an angry red eye. Those of us living in fire prone regions stayed glued to the weather forecast whenever high winds were predicted. We knew we were at risk.

For our family, Kidpower’s training made all the difference when a huge wildfire started near our community …

Kidpower’s article “When Disaster Strikes” helped me see that worrying would not protect my family – we needed to take action and get ready. The Emotional Safety techniques I learned in Kidpower’s online program helped us guide our family to stay focused on what we CAN do to take charge of our safety.

  • Our family met and made a plan in the event the evacuation orders came – even though we hoped they never would – and what to take in case the fires destroyed our beloved home.
  • We packed our car with everything we needed and most valued.
  • The kids knew what to do, and who would be in charge of the dog.
  • We kept our phones fully charged at all times.
  • We kept calm, reassuring our children, even holding my daughter’s birthday early so she wouldn’t miss out in case we had to leave.

And then the winds started blowing the hot smoky air in our direction, covering our yard and car with ashes. It was hard to face the reality that we might lose so much – our home, maybe even our livelihood. We struggled with sadness and helplessness because we knew that we could not stop the firestorm.

Our Kidpower skills and knowledge empowered us to replace panic and denial with determination. We made a choice to leave and get our family to cleaner air and a safer place instead of waiting for the evacuation orders. We followed the Kidpower strategies: Move Away and Get to Safety.

Later we learned that, unlike too many of our friends, we were fortunate … thanks to the dedication of thousands of firefighters, our neighborhood was spared.

I give to Kidpower because I want others to continue to have access to all these incredible resources. Because I want you and your family and loved ones to know what to do in a dangerous situation, whether it is caused by a natural disaster or by violence or abuse – how to plan, how to stay calm, and how to take effective action instead of letting fear take control.”

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Kidpower Founder and Executive Irene van der Zande is a master at teaching safety through stories and practices and at inspiring others to do the same. Her child protection and personal safety expertise has been featured by USA Today, CNN, Today Moms, the LA Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Publications include: cartoon-illustrated Kidpower Safety Comics and Kidpower Teaching Books curriculum; Bullying: What Adults Need to Know and Do to Keep Kids Safe; the Relationship Safety Skills Handbook for Teens and Adults; Earliest Teachable Moment: Personal Safety for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers; The Kidpower Book for Caring Adults: Personal Safety, Self-Protection, Confidence, and Advocacy for Young People, and the Amazon Best Seller Doing Right by Our Kids: Protecting Child Safety at All Levels.