PATTERSON, N.Y. – Disasters can happen at any place and at any time and now dozens of kids in Putnam and Dutchess counties have the tools to deal with them.
Camp Herrlich in Patterson recently hosted a series of “Get Ready Get Safe” prep rallies in conjunction with Save the Children and the Community Resilience Coalition of Putnam County.
Students from the Kent, Matthew Paterson, and Pawling elementary schools, as well as the camp’s after-school program, learned how to recognize risks, plan ahead, and make disaster supplies kits, said the camp’s senior program director, Jessica Vanacoro.
Children at “particularly vulnerable during disasters,” Vanacoro said.
The statistics back her up.
Each day, she said, 69 million children are in school or child care away from their parents.
And yet less than half of American families have an emergency plan and may not know how to reunite during or following a crisis, Vanacoro said.
By learning how to prepare for emergencies, children build up their resilience and are better able to “feel safe, return to a regular routine quickly, and healthily cope with crises,” she added.
“The Prep Rally program makes disasters less scary by giving children the tools they need to prepare and be ready,” said Scott Riches, program director and prep rally facilitator.
Each child got a backpack with a toiletries kit, a teddy bear, a notebook and writing implements, a flashlight, and a checklist for their families that included contact numbers and a plan for reuniting in an emergency.