TRENTON, N.J.--In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy the Federal Emergency Management Agency implemented a program to help children understand the importance of preparation for future disasters. The program, FEMA for Kids, is presented by FEMA Corps members to elementary schools throughout New Jersey.
FEMA Corps is a new partnership between AmeriCorps and FEMA. Members, ages 18 to 24, help in the aid of disaster response and recovery. After Superstorm Sandy, teams were deployed to New Jersey to assist with recovery efforts and provide FEMA registration and preparedness information in communities throughout the state.
Through FEMA for Kids, elementary school students learn how to create a family emergency plan, assemble a disaster supply kit, and take care of pets during and after a disaster. The “art expression zone” encourages kids to express their feelings and thoughts about recent experiences with disasters through drawings and crafts.
FEMA has integrated FEMA for Kids in New Jersey’s affected communities, visiting 21 different schools, giving 28 presentations, and attending two community events to promote disaster awareness so far. Since its implementation, FEMA Corps members have reported having positive responses from the children and teachers, especially from the “art expression zones”.
Following the success of the FEMA for Kids program in New Jersey, FEMA Corps members created and developed the FEMA Connect program targeted to high school audiences. With numerous schools interested, FEMA Connect has grown from an idea to an active program. FEMA Corps has presented at one event and has more scheduled for May.
The objectives of the program are much like FEMA for Kids except it is geared towards an older age group. Students learn how to establish a family communication plan and how communities plan, respond to, and recover from disasters. In order to relate to and involve high school students, the program uses an emergency management scenario involving a fictional town and real life issues that may arise during and after a major storm event. The students are asked to give input on what families should do to prepare/react and how emergency managers should plan and respond for the disaster. FEMA Corps members are also there to answer any questions the students may have on how to get involved in their communities via volunteer agencies.
For more information on how to properly prepare for disasters, about the Ready Campaign or FEMA for Kids visit www.ready.gov.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
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