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Tips for parents of young children

Activities help kids stay busy

Children can be the most vulnerable individuals in a hurricane. Here are some ways to help your kids cope during and after a storm.



  • Stock up on any special medication or food that your children will need.
  • Let children gather cherished keepsakes for reassurance.
  • Make sure you have plenty of DVDs, video and board games, books and coloring and activity books available for during and after the storm.
  • Keep flashlights and batteries on hand.
  • For infants, get powdered formula to prepare using bottled water. Also lots of baby wipes for sponge bathing and Purell for washing hands.




  • If you have a DVD player, the kids can stay busy watching movies while you use your portable TV and radio to keep track of the storm.
  • Make a game of gathering supplies. It can become a scavenger hunt.
  • Let children help with cleanup, so they feel like they belong and are contributing to recovery.
  • Even after the power’s back on, schools might still be closed for weeks and travel discouraged during cleanup. Have activities in mind.
  • Have fun! Pitch a tent in the living room.




  • Children of different ages will handle the situation differently. Younger children might cling more, and teenagers more combative or sullen.
  • Signs of post-storm stress in children may include a decreased appetite or trouble sleeping. Urge them to eat well and drink lots of water. Try to stick to their regular bedtime.
  • Other signs of stress can include headaches or stomach aches; reluctance or refusal to go to bed; nightmares; insomnia; a return to behaviors such as clinging, bed wetting or thumb-sucking; temper tantrums; reduced attention span; fighting; trouble in school; withdrawal; loss of appetite; and in older children, drug or alcohol use.




  • Emphasize to kids that they are safe. Tell them before the storm, as gently as possible, that disasters can happen. Answer their questions honestly and accurately, using words and terms they can understand.
  • Help kids get through feelings of resentment that their routine has been upended. Give them lots of hugs and attention. Let them express their feelings in conversations, drawings or activities.
  • After the storm, if you have been hit hard, admit you are also scared, frustrated and depressed but that you are confident things will eventually return to normal and that it’s critical to have a good attitude.
  • Decide how many television images of the disaster you want your children to see.


More information

FEMA Kids page: http://www.ready.gov/kids. It includes preparation tips and Scavenger Hunt forms.

FEMA publishes storm preparation books for kids, in age-appropriate versions.  Click here to download before a storm.

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The Latest News Headlines

  • A St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office deputy has serious injuries, after a crash on County Road 210, near the Cimarrone Golf Club.  According to the crash report from the Florida Highway Patrol, the deputy and his motorcycle went off the roadway for an unknown reason and hit a tree. After hitting the tree, the deputy was thrown into a concrete power pole. The deputy’s injuries are described as serious, but not life-threatening. However, he was airlifted to UF Health.
  • It's a long road to recovery, but a St. Johns County Sheriff's Office deputy involved in a line-of-duty motorcycle crash two weeks ago is staying positive.   The Sheriff's Office says Deputy DeLeo's crash caused serious lower extremity injuries and he will have a long road to what they hope will be a full recovery.   DeLeo is expected to remain hospitalized for several more weeks and then continue his recovery in out-patient care.   The Sheriff's Office says his spirit and tenacity is strong and he's forging ahead to get back to his passion of serving the community.   Friends of the DeLeo family have started a GoFundMe account to assist the family as he recovers, you can find that link HERE.
  • A Louisiana woman and her 20-year-old son were arrested earlier this month and charged in connection with a drive-by shooting that stemmed from an ongoing dispute with the alleged victim. The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office reported Friday that deputies were called July 6 to the Calcasieu home of a man who accused Jeffery Clayton Normand, of Glenmora, of pulling into his driveway and firing a handgun at his home before fleeing. The man was not injured in the shooting. Detectives investigating the incident learned that Normand’s mother, Marlene Normand, was in the vehicle with her son when the shooting took place, Sheriff’s Office officials said on Facebook. The alleged victim told deputies that the drive-by shooting was in retaliation for a verbal argument between the men earlier in the day.  Investigators also learned that Marlene Normand, 49, of Glenmora, was the sole suspect from an incident in January that was part of the same ongoing dispute that led to the shooting, the Sheriff’s Office statement said. Details of that incident were not released. >> Read more trending news Marlene and Jeffery Normand, who live at the same address, were both arrested July 19. Marlene Normand is charged with assault and criminal conspiracy in connection with the drive-by shooting, along with illegal entry of an inhabited dwelling, simple battery and seven counts of making harassing phone calls for the January incident.  Like his mother, Jeffery Normand faces charges of assault and criminal conspiracy in connection with the shooting, according to the Sheriff’s Office. He was released on $75,000 bail the day of his arrest.  Marlene Normand was released that same day on bail of $88,250.  Calcasieu is a community about 25 miles southwest of Alexandria in central Louisiana. 
  • Jacksonville University is set to become a smoke-free campus August 7th. All lighted tobacco products will be prohibited at property owned, operated, leased, occupied, or controlled by the University. The rules will apply to those affiliated with the campus as well as outside visitors, guests, and representatives of companies renting University-affiliated property. The move is designed to promote a safe and healthy learning environment. “At JU, we believe a healthy campus is a dynamic, productive campus, and being smoke-free adds powerfully to that vital culture we’re embraced here,” says JU President Tim Cost, in a statement. JU says the policy they created is consistent with other higher education institutions and is based on feedback from those involved with the campus. If you are affiliated with the campus community and want to stop using tobacco outright, JU’s Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences has local partnerships offering a free six-week Group Quit class. You can get more information about the class and associated resources by calling the Area Health Education Center at 904-482-0189. The program is funded by a settlement fund through the Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida. Effective August 7th, you can find the full policy in JU’s University Policies. FULL POLICY, provided by JU: Objective: Jacksonville University is invested in maintaining a safe and healthy environment for our students, employees, alumni and visitors. Research shows that the smoking of tobacco products constitutes a significant health hazard. The smoking of tobacco products has been specifically identified as a contributing factor in a number of university facility fires across the nation, many of which have resulted in fatalities or major damage.  Rationale: Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. (www.cdc.gov)   Research findings confirm, and the U.S. Surgeon General affirms, that tobacco use and exposures to secondhand smoke by non-users constitute a significant health hazard. (www.surgeongeneral.gov)   Jacksonville University is invested in protecting the health and wellbeing of its employees, students and visitors.   Adoption of a smoke-free policy has the potential to reduce maintenance costs, improve productivity, reduce initiation of new tobacco users and increase tobacco-cessation rates. (www.cdc.gov)   Through the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act, the state of Florida acknowledges that lighted tobacco products constitute significant health hazards to users and nonusers. (www.leg.state.fl.us)   Lighted tobacco products are also a safety concern since they have been identified as contributing factors in numerous accidental fires. Currently 766 college campuses in the U.S. have adopted tobacco-free related policies. (www. http.tobaccofreecampus.org)   Policy: Effective August 7, 2017, Jacksonville University shall be a “smoke-free” campus, and prohibits the use of all lighted tobacco products on all property that is owned, operated, leased, occupied, or controlled by the University. “Property” for purposes of this policy includes:  a) Buildings, structures, enclosed bridges and walkways, university carts and vehicles, personal vehicles in these areas, and any other indoor areas owned or managed by the university.  b) Parking lots, parking garages or structures, grounds, sidewalks, rooftops, plazas, courtyards, entrance/exit ways, university-owned or -leased vehicles, and any other outdoor areas owned or managed by the university.  This policy applies to all Jacksonville University students, employees, consultants, contractors, visitors and external individuals, companies renting university-owned space, and property owned or managed by Jacksonville University.  Definitions:  1. “Smoking” means inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, or pipe or any other lighted or heated tobacco or plant product, including marijuana, intended for inhalation in any manner or form. “Smoking” also includes the use of an e-cigarette that creates a vapor, in any manner or in any form, or the use of any oral smoking device for the purpose of circumventing the prohibition of smoking in this policy. 2. “Tobacco Products” means all forms of tobacco, including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, water pipes (hookah), e-cigarettes (any device intended to simulate smoking). 3. “Members of the University community” include its faculty, staff, students, volunteers, customers and visitors. 4. “Property” includes buildings, structures, grounds, parking lots or structures, enclosed bridges and walkways, sidewalks, university carts and vehicles, as well as personal vehicles in these areas.   Procedures:  Effective August 7, 2017:  All designated smoking areas will be eliminated.  All ash receptacles will be removed  Enforcement:  Students  Violations of the policy will be addressed in accordance with current University policies and procedures. Accordingly, students may expect a University response under the student code of conduct. The University encourages students to engage in an approach of collective responsibility to hold each student accountable to smoke free policy expectations. Additionally, traditional reporting resources of Campus Security and Residential Life are available for support and enforcement of the policy.  Employees  Violations of this university policy that involve employees should be reported to the employee’s immediate supervisor or department head to be formally addressed. Reports that are unable to be resolved through intervention at the department level may involve the office of Human Resources. The University also encourages employees to engage in an approach of collective responsibility to hold each employee accountable to smoke free policy expectations.  Visitors  Visitors and vendors on campus may not be knowledgeable of the policy. The campus community shares the responsibility to respectfully edify them that Jacksonville University is a smoke-free campus. Campus Security is to be notified in situations involving visitors, including vendors, observed to be using smoke or tobacco products, and who fail to comply after being advised of the policy. Further refusal to respect the policy may result in a visitor or vendor being required to leave campus. Additionally, members of the campus community will be held accountable for the behavior and conduct of their guests/visitors while they are on University property. All visitors/guests are expected to adhere to all University policies.  Campus Security retains authority to directly enforce adherence to this policy at all times with any and all campus constituents. However, it remains the University’s expectation for compliance to be assured through the shared responsibility of the Jacksonville University community.  Exceptions: The smoking of tobacco products may be permitted for controlled research with prior approval of the Provost, the Institutional Review Board, and the Dean of Students.  Tobacco use and/or smoking on campus may be permitted for educational or religious ceremonial purposes with prior approval of the Provost and Dean of Students.
  • What is an ICBM and why should we be worrying? Here is what we know now. What is an ICBM? An intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is a missile that has the ability to carry a warhead more than 3,400 miles either through the air, or through space. The missile must be able to survive re-entry if it flies through space. The missile would normally be used to deliver a nuclear weapon  but could carry conventional warheads.  An ICBM is different from other ballistic missiles because it can be launched more quickly and can fly farther than other ballistic missiles. What does “ballistic missile” mean? A ballistic missile is powered and guided toward a target but falls under gravity onto its target. The trajectory is a high, arching path. What kinds of missiles has North Korea tested? Pentagon officials said they detected an ICBM launched on July 28 by North Korea. It traveled about 620 miles from Mupyong-ni, where it was launched, before splashing down in the Sea of Japan. The trip took about 45 minutes. >> Related: North Korea fires intercontinental ballistic missile, Pentagon says North Korea previously said it launched a Hwasong-14 missile on July 4. According to U.S. officials, it was a two-stage missile that they had never seen. The missile flew as high as 1,741 miles before it hit a target off the coast of Japan some 580 miles away from its launch site. It took 39 minutes to hit the target.  Despite claims from North Korea that the missile could hit any target in the world, analysts say the Hwasong-14 likely has a range of 4,970 miles. Alaska is 3,560 miles from North Korea. Can the missile deliver a nuclear weapon to the U.S. mainland now? Weapons experts believe that the North Koreans are likely about two years away from developing a missile that can reach the United States mainland. The U.S. is 6,434 miles from the Korean Peninsula. There has been no evidence that North Korea has miniaturized a nuclear warhead, something they would have to do to deliver such a weapon to the U.S. mainland. Can the U.S. shoot it down? The job of the Missile Defense Agency is to develop ways to defend against such weapons. However, a test of a new defense system carried out in Japan in June did not have great results. The test of the SM-3 intercepter failed. A defense system that North Korean officials often refer claim is threatening to its people is the THAAD (Thermal High Altitude Area Defense) system. THAAD is meant to intercept short-, medium- and intermediate-range missiles. It has a range of around 125 miles. Why be concerned? North Korea’s leader is considered unstable and his regime is a brutal one. It is believed that North Korea spends between one-quarter and one-third of its GDP on the military and weapons development in a country where nearly 2 million people starved to death in the 1990s.  On the first of the year, Kim promised that his country would carry out a test of an ICBM. After seven months, it has. Defense officials in North Korea say they exploded a hydrogen bomb in 2016. Kim has vowed to use the weapons the country is now testing. On Wednesday, he said North Korea would “demonstrate its mettle to the U.S.' and that its weapons programs would never be part of any negotiation with the United States.

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