WASHINGTON -- Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced a new strategy to educate young people about disaster prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery. The National Strategy for Youth Preparedness Education: Empowering, Educating and Building Resilience (National Strategy) couples attention on emergency and disaster preparedness with community action that focuses specifically on youth readiness for disasters and related events. The National Strategy was developed in partnership with the American Red Cross and the U.S. Department of Education, and more than 25 organizations have affirmed their support.
Research shows that it is important to educate and empower young people to prepare for disasters. A 2010 study from Oregon State University showed that 14 percent of children and teens had experienced a disaster during their lifetime, and four percent had been in a disaster within the past year. Of those who had experience with disaster, a quarter reported experiencing more than one.
Recognizing that children have the ability to play an important role in preparing themselves, their families, and their communities for a disaster, Disney, the Ad Council and FEMA are releasing new Public Service Advertisements (PSAs) as an extension of the Ready campaign. These new PSAs highlight several steps that kids can take to prepare for emergencies: Make a Plan, Build a Kit and Know The Facts. The new English and Spanish ads feature leading characters from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ upcoming film “Big Hero 6,” and they encourage viewers to visit Ready.gov/Kids to learn how to prepare for emergencies.
“Children who learn about emergency preparedness experience less anxiety during an actual emergency or disaster,” FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said. “This National Strategy will encourage communities and organizations to give children and their families the information they need to prepare for disasters.”
“When it comes to emergency preparedness, we know that communication and planning in advance are critical,” Ad Council President and CEO Peggy Conlon said. “Research has shown that children can play an important role in creating family emergency plans, which is why this extension of our longstanding campaign with FEMA incorporates wonderfully entertaining Disney characters that will both entertain and educate children.”
“Young people can do amazing things when given the chance,” said Richard Reed, senior vice president of Disaster Cycle Services at the American Red Cross. “Just watch an entire school full of kids evacuate in a couple of minutes for a fire drill, or listen to the story of the young man who gave his birthday money to buy smoke alarms for his community. At the Red Cross, we’re just delighted to stand with this coalition to help prepare young people and their families.”
The National Strategy presents nine priority steps to further youth preparedness education including: building partnerships to enhance, increase and implement youth preparedness learning programs; connecting young people with their families, communities, first responders and other youth; and increasing school preparedness. More information about these steps--as well as the national organizations that have affirmed their support--is available under the National Strategy tab in the FEMA Youth Technical Assistance Center at www.ready.gov/youth-preparedness.
More information about emergency preparedness is available at www.ready.gov.
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