February Children and Disasters Newsletter

Children and Disasters newsletter header

February 2016 - ISSUE 2



Applications Open for Youth Preparedness Council

Youth Preparedness Council

Youth have the opportunity to transform the resiliency and preparedness of their local communities and beyond. Freshmen or sophomores who have engaged in individual and community preparedness, or have experienced a disaster motivating them to take action, are encouraged to apply to serve on the FEMA Youth Preparedness Council.

Formed in 2012, council members are selected to serve two-year terms on the basis of their dedication to public service and engagement in advocacy for youth preparedness. Adults working with youth and/or community preparedness are encouraged to share the application with youth who might be interested in applying. Applications consist of a completed form, two letters of recommendation, and academic records. For more information, or to submit an application, visit the Youth Preparedness Council website.

Webinar: Preparing Youth for Disasters

STEP Cover

Various populations throughout the Nation are disproportionately impacted during an emergency. On February 4, from 3–4 p.m. (EST), the FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Division will host a webinar focused on engaging the public on disaster preparedness and resilience efforts serving youth. 

Guest speakers will include:

  • Bruce Lockwood, Acting Captain, Emergency Management Division, East Hartford Fire Department, CT; Former Commissioner, National Commission on Children and Disasters
  • Sarah Thompson, Save the Children
  • Hilary Palotay, American Red Cross
  • Captain Rob Tosatto, Medical Reserve Corps & Jane Shovlin, AZHOSA 

Connect using the Adobe Connect Registration Web LinkBe sure to test your Adobe Connect connection prior to the meetings. The webinar will offer closed captioning.

Webinar: STEP into Preparedness

Join the FEMA Individual and Community Preparedness Division on February 11, from 2–3 p.m. (EST), to learn about the newly updated Student Tools for Emergency Planning (STEP)—a classroom-based curriculum that teaches fourth and fifth-graders about preparing for emergencies.

Guest speakers will include:

  • Louise Gorham, Health Imperatives
  • Tod Pritchard, Wisconsin Emergency Management
  • Robert Scata, Connecticut Emergency Management and Homeland Security

Connect using the Adobe Connect Registration Web LinkBe sure to test your Adobe Connect connection prior to the meetings. The webinar will offer closed captioning.

Child Care Aware® of America Symposium 2016

Child Care Aware of America Symposium 2016

Child Care Aware® of America’s Symposium 2016 will be held April 4-6 in Washington, D.C. and will address the latest topics in research, policy, and practices of interest to the child care and early education communities. An emergency preparedness session featuring special guest speakers will explore new preparedness resources, tools, and policies that emerged in 2015. The session will also discuss numerous man-made and natural disasters that impacted communities throughout the United States last year.

For more information about all of the sessions, or to register, visit http://usa.childcareaware.org/symposium2016

Stories Can Save Lives (and Win!)

My Preparedness Story

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response is calling for young people to submit a creative 60-second video showing how they help others stay safe and resilient.

Submissions can gain national recognition and win cash prizes. To widen the initiative’s impact, participants are encouraged to share their videos on social media with the hashtag #WatchMePrep. Visit My Preparedness Story Video Challenge for more information.



Protecting Youngsters from Disasters

Save the Children

In an effort to protect young campers from the potential emotional and developmental consequences of disasters, Save the Children partnered with the Foundation for Sustainable Parks and Recreation to help communities plan for children’s unique needs in an emergency. This work was on display as the cover article of last month’s Parks and Recreation Magazine.
In Howard County, MD, the partnership is going strong. The Department of Recreation & Parks and Save the Children collaborated to train leaders from the healthcare, school, child care, and emergency management sectors how to serve children best during an emergency.

According to Sarah Thompson, Associate Director of Community Preparedness for Save the Children, “Parks and recreation programs are critical for helping children cope with crises. They provide children with a sense of stability, comfort and, most importantly, the opportunity to play and just be a kid again. All of this requires care providers to be creative, flexible, and adaptable.”

In addition to leading training sessions, Save the Children partnered with the Foundation for Sustainable Parks and Recreation to equip parks and recreation departments with “Protecting Children in Disasters: A Guide for Parks and Recreation,” the “Prep Rally Camp Leader Guide,” and additional Prep Rally resources. Visit America’s PrepareAthon! to find out more about how Save the Children is teaching youngsters the ABCs of Disaster Safety in any environment.



Raytheon and NOAA Get Youth Weather Ready

Weather Ready app

In collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and hosted by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, The Raytheon Company developed the free NOAA Weather-Ready Nation™ application, designed to teach youth in two age groups, 10–12 and 13+, about various weather threats like floods, heat, hurricanes, lightning, rip currents, tornadoes, tsunamis, and winter storms. Depending on their age and state, users complete customized hazard scenarios and then receive certificates from the Weather-Ready Nation Ambassadors program, established by NOAA to help citizens better understand how to respond to weather-related disasters.

Keep Children Safe with WEA

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) allow government officials to send geographically-targeted, text-like emergency alerts to all subscribers with WEA-capable devices for imminent threats to safety in their area.

WEA includes three types of alerts: President or designee issued; imminent threats to safety or life, including severe man-made or natural disasters; and AMBER Alerts about an abducted child.

Consumers do not have to sign up for WEA because several wireless providers, including T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon, voluntarily participate in the system. Prepaid mobile devices may also be WEA-capable. Participating carriers may allow subscribers to block all but Presidential alerts.

Since 2012, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) directly attributes WEA with saving the lives of 20 children by providing instant information to assist in their safe recovery. FEMA encourages people to pay attention to these alerts, as they could save lives. 

Wireless Emergency Alerts

Youth Service America Launches Disaster Preparedness Toolkit

Youth Service America - We Stand Together Toolkit

Youth Service America partnered with the Corporation for National and Community Service and Save the Children to release We Stand Strong: A Disaster Preparedness Toolkit, a resource for planning a Prep Rally or other preparedness project. A Prep Rally is an event for children grades K–5 that covers the basics of disaster preparedness, including things like recognizing risks, planning ahead, and gathering supplies.



Oregon High School Facilitates Active Shooter Drill

Megan Stutzman's active shooter drill

Megan Stutzman, Region X representative on FEMA’s Youth Preparedness Council, served on the planning committee for an active shooter drill at Central High School in Independence, OR. Since last year, Stutzman has served as an instructor for both teen and adult Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) classes in Polk County, and she was instrumental in bringing those two CERT groups—along with two other CERT groups from neighboring counties—together for the drill, which took place on November 24, 2015.

The drill saw participation from approximately 120 people across five agencies, and it empowered Stutzman to motivate her peers to volunteer with local police, fire, and CERT groups. 

Prior to the drill, Stutzman recruited and coached nearly 40 teachers and students to role play as victims so the drill would be realistic. Responding to the mock shooting, Stutzman and her team members helped paramedics relocate those victims from hallways to safe rooms, barricade rooms against the threat, and complete triage functions in the school’s library.

Several local agencies actively participated in the drill, and several other statewide agencies, like the Oregon FBI Office and the Oregon State Fire Marshall’s Office, observed and evaluated local agencies’ performance. The drill provided important opportunities for collaboration and reflection for all involved.

For more information about the Youth Preparedness Council, visit www.ready.gov/youth-preparedness-council.



Email: FEMA-Youth-Preparedness@fema.dhs.gov

Online: www.ready.gov/youth-preparedness