The STEP program teaches Wisconsin school kids how to prepare for disasters and react to emergencies. The acronym stands for Student Tools for Emergency Planning.
Tod Pritchard with Wisconsin Emergency Management explains how participating students will gain important and potentially life-saving knowledge. “STEP is a turn-key classroom curriculum that teachers can give to their 5th grade students — it’s aimed at 5th graders — and it teaches them how to deal with emergencies, how to get ready for a tornado or floods or manmade disasters that happen in their communities.”
Kids are like a sponge; Pritchard says they’ll soak up the information and form good habits early in their lives. “The kids are the agents of change. They’re the ones who are gonna change our society, not the rest of us.”
The STEP program is flexible and customizable to the schools’ and students’ needs. Pritchard says each student will get a starter emergency kit to take home with them. More than 5500 students in 250 classrooms in the Badger State are participating in the program. Wisconsin was the first state in the Midwest to try the program, which is funded through a federal grant.
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:29