State officials want to make sure students across Wisconsin know what to do when a disaster hits. Schools are being encouraged to sign up for the Student Tools for Emergency Planning, or STEP, program to make sure kids are armed with the information they may need if a crisis hits their community.
Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch says the classroom curriculum helps students think about how they would respond in the event of a major disaster and teaches them different ways they can assist their families, teachers, and communities.
The program is aimed at fifth graders and provides students with a backpack containing emergency supplies, such a first aid kit and flashlight. Kleefisch says students are asked to think about what other items they can put in the bags that would be useful in an emergency.
Kleefisch says STEP also puts the focus on getting children to discuss emergency plans with their families. She says those conversations can help students understand what to do in an emergency, noting more prepared children are less likely to be scared.
The STEP program is expanding to reach nearly 10,000 students across the state this year, with a $15,000 grant from AT&T and first aid kits donated by drug store chain Walgreens. The deadline for schools to apply through the Ready Wisconsin website is November 30th.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:20)