Four Hamilton Elementary Schools Learn to Prepare for Emergencies
The state-wide program is being offered to more than 5,500 students.
Lannon, Marcy, Woodside and Maple Avenue elementary schools are among the more than 5,500 students in 250 classrooms around Wisconsin learning how to prepare for disasters and react to emergencies through a special program called STEP (Student Tools for Emergency Planning).
“The students involved in the STEP program will gain very important and potentially life saving knowledge,” said Tod Pritchard, Wisconsin Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. “Students then take that knowledge home and share it with family and friends making their communities better prepared for an emergency.”
STEP is a turn-key classroom curriculum for teachers to prepare 5th grade students for various emergencies including tornadoes, flooding and storms. It also shows students how to put together an emergency kit and develop an emergency plan with their families. Teachers signed up for the program this past fall and are required to teach the STEP curriculum before the end of the 2011-12 school year.
The STEP program provides teachers with materials at no cost to the schools. This includes instructor guides, copies of student handouts and starter emergency kits students can take home. The basic lesson is only one hour of instruction but teachers can expand the lessons to cover eight hours of materials.
Last year, Wisconsin became the first state in the Midwest to teach the STEP program. Nearly 2400 students from Wisconsin schools participated in the emergency preparedness program.
STEP is sponsored by Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM), Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Office of Justice Assistance, Center for School, Youth, and Citizen Preparedness, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.