by Chris Pyo, American Red Cross in Greater NY
Among the team members who facilitated the training was Red Cross volunteer and preparedness expert Alexander Poku. “Even with kids as young as these children are, it’s important that we teach them about fire safety procedures as early as possible and have them pass the information we give them on to their parents” said Poku. “New Yorkers could face these dangers every single day, and the more we can do to educate children on how to practice safety in different scenarios, the better protected they are.”
“Prepare with Pedro” is an expansion of an existing Red Cross preparedness program for children 8 to ten years old. This new initiative features a cartoon penguin named Pedro who guides the kids through a series of fun and informative stories about emergency preparedness. Different modules feature different disasters, including home fires, hurricanes, floods and other emergencies. The Red Cross chose to bring the fire safety module to the school in the Bronx due to the high number of home fires that occur in the borough.
During the sessions, students were engaged in a number of activities to help them understand what to do and what not to do in the event of a fire (i.e. get low to the ground, never go back inside, get to safe place outside) and how to stay as calm as possible by taking deep breaths.