Emergencies and disasters can happen at any time and often without any warning. Considering that children comprise approximately 25 percent of our population, disaster planning, response, and recovery efforts must take into account the unique needs that children have. Additionally, children bring many unique strengths to emergency preparedness:
- Children are positive influencers. Educators and social researchers agree that children can effectively bring the message of preparedness home to their families.
- Children can become leaders. By participating in youth preparedness programs, children are empowered to become leaders at home and in their schools and communities.
- Children who are prepared are more confident during emergencies and disasters. Social science research and anecdotal evidence support the idea that children who have learned about emergency preparedness experience less anxiety during an actual emergency or disaster.
A key document offers more insight into the benefits of youth preparedness and helps envision a future in which youth are fully engaged in preparedness efforts is Bringing Youth Preparedness to the Forefront, A Literature Review and Recommendation: Citizen Preparedness Review
With all of the above in mind, FEMA, the U.S. Department of Education, and the American Red Cross are together in the process of finalizing the National Strategy for Youth Preparedness Education: Empowering, Educating and Building Resilience to provide concrete steps that interested parties can take towards creating a nation of prepared youth. With the support of organizations at the national, state, and local levels, we can together commit to engaging, empowering and building resilience in youth through preparedness education.
Visit our Support the Movement page for more information on the National Strategy.