An article about educating children and youth in Australia, Lessons Save Lives, shared some harrowing tales about how disaster training received by children saved lives. A few examples of how children responded successfully to hazardous conditions after receiving good preparedness education drove home the importance of such training. Rather than frightening them, these lessons empowered them to be able to make good decisions during an emergency that saved their lives and the lives of others. I was horrified when I read about the senseless loss of life simply because students and teachers had not received adequate disaster preparedness training. The stories shared should motivate everyone to take steps today to provide students with knowledge and skills that can make a difference.
A story shared from the Japan Times, Preserving Okawa Elementary School is the right thing to do, shared a sad story about how a lack of training contributed to bad choices that cost lives during the March 11, 2011, Tsunami, but also detailed how students in Kamaishi were able to save themselves when more than 1,000 other people living in their city perished. These students had received training from a piloted disaster preparedness curriculum and made good decisions about what to do which ultimately resulted in their survival.
What children learn today can empower them to make better choices in the event of a natural disaster – choices that can ultimately save their lives. We have all read stories about how children took action to save lives after they learned preparedness lessons in school. These types of success stories exemplify the value of time invested in disaster preparedness training for children. There are resources for parents and teachers to use, and some simple tips shared with children and youth can make a difference in helping them survive dangerous situations. NFPA’s TakeAction page offers virtual field trips with accompanying lesson plans about wildfire and wildfire preparedness, videos, and other resources to enable you to invest time wisely in helping children develop wildfire survival knowledge. Don’t miss an opportunity today to be a hero in the life of a child.
Photo shared by Jeremy Keller from Ohio Wildfire Community Preparedness Day