Does a Pink Wig Belong In a Disaster Supply Kit?

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Bronx, N.Y., Jan. 11, 2013 -- Students in the Bronx, New York, take part in learning about natural disasters and preparedness during a FEMA For Kids presentation at MARC Academy and Family Center. FEMA plays a vital role supporting State, Tribal and local governments as they respond to the impacts of Hurricane Sandy.

Bronx, N.Y., Jan. 11, 2013 -- Students in the Bronx, New York, take part in learning about natural disasters and preparedness during a FEMA For Kids presentation at MARC Academy and Family Center. FEMA plays a vital role supporting State, Tribal and local governments as they respond to the impacts of Hurricane Sandy.

“Does a flashlight and extra batteries belong in an emergency kit?”

“Yes!” the room full of students, between the ages of 6 and 11, shout!

Suffern, N.Y., Jan. 10, 2013 -- FEMA For Kids promotes emergency preparedness at Lime Kiln Elementary in Suffern, NY by teaching students how to create an emergency supply kit. In addition, emergency safety related books, pamphlets websites are provided to students and staff during the safety preparedness question and answer session.

Suffern, N.Y., Jan. 10, 2013 -- FEMA For Kids promotes emergency preparedness at Lime Kiln Elementary in Suffern, NY by teaching students how to create an emergency supply kit. In addition, emergency safety related books, pamphlets websites are provided to students and staff during the safety preparedness question and answer session.

“How about a pink wig?”

“No!” they shout.

On a recent morning, Nina Coleman took various items out of a disaster supply kit, held them up and asked students at Public School 215 in Far Rockaway, NY what supplies do and don’t belong. Weather Radio elicited a resounding “Yes!”

“First Aid Kit?”

“You bet.”

“A high-heeled boot?”

Giggles. “I don’t think so.” 

These kids are residents of a neighborhood battered by Hurricane Sandy and they listen carefully to the FEMA for Kids (Ready Kids) presentation, an interactive program designed to teach children about emergency preparedness through hands-on activities, lively question and answer sessions and storytelling.

Coleman is a natural with kids. She ought to be. She’s the mother of three daughters, ages 2, 3 and 6.

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Coleman, Assistant Manager of FEMA for Kids Community Relations Strike Team, has been conducting outreach to schools, after-school programs and youth organizations throughout New York City to inform students and teachers about disaster preparedness. With a background as an instructor of mortgage loan software, she is comfortable in front of a classroom.  She has also come equipped with a banner she has hung in front of the room showcasing the children’s book characters Flat Stanley and Stella, FEMA’s new ambassadors for FEMA for Kids.

Queens, N.Y., Jan. 4, 2013 -- Flat Stella and Flat Stanley visit the FEMA Joint Field Office (JFO) in Queens, NY to attend meetings with FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Byrne, FEMA partners and associates.

Queens, N.Y., Jan. 4, 2013 -- Flat Stella and Flat Stanley visit the FEMA Joint Field Office (JFO) in Queens, NY to attend meetings with FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Byrne, FEMA partners and associates.

At Far Rockaway’s P.S. 215, approximately 70 percent of the students (and a majority of the teachers) had been affected by the hurricane. At times, children may be left out when it comes to the recovery process of a disaster and often they have several questions regarding storms. Informing children how to prepare for a disaster helps to alleviate their fears and increases the chance that they will stay safe during a disaster. 

Their questions can range from the serious, “What do you do if your car goes into floodwater?” to the head-scratchers: “What happens to the fish when there’s a hurricane?”

Bronx, N.Y., Jan. 11, 2013 -- Students in the Bronx, New York, take part in learning about natural disasters and preparedness during a FEMA For Kids presentation at MARC Academy and Family Center. FEMA plays a vital role supporting State, Tribal and local governments as they respond to the impacts of Hurricane Sandy.

Bronx, N.Y., Jan. 11, 2013 -- Students in the Bronx, New York, take part in learning about natural disasters and preparedness during a FEMA For Kids presentation at MARC Academy and Family Center. FEMA plays a vital role supporting State, Tribal and local governments as they respond to the impacts of Hurricane Sandy.

While our FEMA for Kids instructors cannot determine the fate of the fish, the answer to the first questions is: you never try to drive through floodwater, especially because the depth may be deceiving. The mantra is: “turn around, don’t drown.”

Our instructors use every opportunity to reinforce how important it is to be prepared.

She tells the children to learn about the different types of disasters, to make a communication plan (knowing your family’s contact information) and to know their evacuation route. 

The students are reminded that they should practice their evacuation route just like fire drills at school. And when a storm is predicted, Coleman tells the children to be sure to listen to the news or weather radio to find out if an evacuation is being ordered. The children are encouraged to visit www.ready.gov/kids where they can download the Flats and take them on their journey to learning and teaching the family about disaster preparedness.

Much of this advice is something the children will speak to their parents about, which is another plus of the program. “It helps us spread the preparedness message,” says Coleman. 

Coleman does whatever it takes to make sure this message gets across, even if it means putting on a silly fluorescent pink wig and doing a little dance. It really gets their attention, but that’s the idea. 

Judging by the positive response from the children – most of them said they were going to go home and put together a disaster supplies kit (minus the pink wig and high heel boot) -- readiness has come to Rockaway.

For more information and games for kids on disaster preparedness, visit www.Ready.gov/kids.

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18/01/2013 - 16:22
Posted on Mié, 16/01/2013 - 20:04
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