Study says Florida kids are at risk in disaster situations

CLEARWATER, Fla. - An unsettling report out Tuesday shows that many children in America are not ready for a disaster. Florida, along with 20 other states, are deficient in preparedness plans, according to the folks with "Save the Children."

While the report says Florida does a good job with multi-hazard plans for students in grades K-12 and with enabling parents and kids to reunite after disasters strike, they're not making the grade in other areas.

If you go to the "Save The Children" website, there it is splashed on the front page. The 2014 disaster report card reveals that America is unprepared to protect its kids.

"Does this give people a false sense of "we're not doing enough?'" I asked Tom Iovino -- with Pinellas Emergency Management.

"Oh no," he said. "I think that everybody needs to had e a plan and party of what I see with something like this is that there's been something that's been found inadequate and what we want to do is address it. And it can be addressed at our level as the county, but also individually. People need to have plans."

He says that while some might find this report upsetting,  with deficiencies in plans to evacuate children in day care and those with special needs, he prefers to look at it as a positive that individuals need to take proper precautions for their family first, rather than waiting for a government entity to step in.

However, he quickly added that kids could -- and should -- be called upon to help in such situations, and that every disaster, whether here or across the country, can be used to help us be better next time.

"Part of what we want to do is take those lessons from a Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina and those tornadoes in the midwest and apply what we can learn (from them) here locally."

Again, this is a very broad sort of study, with very general findings.

The great news here is that there is still time to prepare. Even though we're halfway into the storm season now, it's never too late to make your preparations.

So if you think this report is alarming, you can work with your kids to improve their situation.

They've even got pamphlets and activity books to make it easier.


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