Keeping Young People Safe and Prepared in an Emergency

first_img Do I dial 911 if grandma falls or should I call my mother atwork? What do I do if there’s another hurricane and our powergoes out? What will happen if a world crisis happens close tohome? Children of all ages have questions like these. With the help ofthe Nova Scotia Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) and theCanadian Red Cross, educators and parents throughout Nova Scotiacan help find the answers they need. Teachers, families and children may also Prepare Now! and LearnHow! during this week, Emergency Preparedness Week (May 1 to May7). The 911 Activity Pack, available on the province’s EMO website,is used to help teach younger children about the 911 service andhow they can properly identify an emergency. Nova Scotia’s 911 service is one of EMO’s key programs. Thisprovincewide service is the first of its kind in Canada. “Having guides like the 911 Activity Pack in the classroom and athome is an important step toward improving emergency preparednessamong all Nova Scotians,” said Mike Myette, manager of theprovince’s 911 service. Activities like field trips and role-playing exercises givestudents the opportunity to learn about emergency preparedness ina fun and interactive way. The activities in the 911 ActivityPack are also designed to help reassure students that emergencyhelp is available when they need it, even if a parent isn’tnearby. The pack also contains simple household chores and activitiesthat parents can complete with their youngsters at home. Theactivities– which include things like preparing a familyemergency kit and making a list of emergency phone numbers andaddresses — are only some of the many ways parents can helptheir children prepare for the unexpected. “The 911 Activity Pack fits in well with the curriculum andlearning objectives for my students and can be easily taught byparents as well,” said Mary Osborne, who teaches grades two andthree at Sir Charles Tupper Elementary School in Halifax. “Younever know when a child will have to be the one to make a 911call and this pack is very helpful in teaching young people whatthey need to know in order to feel comfortable making that call.”The Canadian Red Cross is also doing its part to encourageemergency preparedness among students, teachers, and families. Children between the ages of five and 16, for example, canbenefit from the Expect the Unexpected and the Facing Fearprograms. Available on the Canadian Red Cross website, theseprograms are filled with lesson plans, videos and other toolsthat help students prepare for and cope with emergencies liketerrorist attacks and natural disasters. The Expect the Unexpected program focuses on helping youths andfamilies learn disaster preparedness techniques and deal withunexpected natural disasters, like Hurricane Juan, which struckNova Scotia on Sept. 29, 2003 as one of the most powerful anddamaging storms in Canada. But children not only need to be prepared for an emergency, theyneed to know how to cope with one. The Facing Fear program, themost recent emergency preparedness program offered by theCanadian Red Cross, helps young people deal with the aftermath ofa tragic event. It encourages teachers to talk to their studentsabout managing their feelings. It also deals with the role of themedia and their impact on public opinion, and with internationalhumanitarian law. “Our programs help teach young people how to be prepared foremergencies and how to cope with them as well,” said JoanneLawlor, manager of community development for the Canadian RedCross. “These programs give teachers the opportunity to preparechildren for emergencies, build their confidence in their ownskills and give them the techniques to deal with an emergency.” For more information on the Expect the Unexpected and Facing Fearprograms, see the Canadian Red Cross website at www.redcross.ca .For more information on the 911 Activity Pack and emergencypreparedness, see the province’s EMO website at www.gov.ns.ca/emo. -30- EMERGENCY MEASURES ORGANIZATION–Keeping Young People Safe andPrepared in an Emergencylast_img

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