united states | let's get ready

Planning for emergencies can be as simple as knowing your last name.

Children’s Education Initiatives in the United States | Emergency preparedness

During a crisis, young children are especially vulnerable. Yet a survey by the Children’s Health Fund indicates that 65 percent of American families do not have an emergency plan.

As many parents discovered in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina — when officials worked to reunite nearly 5,200 missing kids with their families — the key to safety for a preschooler can be as simple as learning your last name. To help prepare families for the unexpected, we launched Let’s Get Ready! Planning Together for Emergencies as part of National Preparedness Month. This multimedia outreach program includes a DVD, a children’s activity book, a magazine for caregivers, and online resources to help kids learn their identifying information.

The materials offer parents ways to educate children about emergencies to reduce their fear and anxiety, while Grover and his pals share songs and stories to help children memorize their personal information. To reassure kids that they will not be alone in an emergency, Grover asks a savvy Dalmatian to show him the community “helpers” who are available to assist, such as firefighters and teachers. He also teams up with a real family to learn what goes into an emergency kit (Hint: Not a feather boa; not a bowling ball).

Parents and teachers using our Let’s Get Ready! materials particularly appreciated the role-playing, songs, and other shared activities. The kit also drove home how important it is to have an emergency plan that involves their child.1

Major support provided by American Greetings and Bear Stearns.  Additional support provided by the Ad Council.

1Summary of Findings for Bear Stearns Focus Groups on Emergency Preparedness. (2008). Internal Report. New York: Sesame Workshop.