Camp prepares kids for weather disasters
FAIRFIELD — The young attendees at the Student Tools for Emergency Planning “camp” at police headquarters left prepared for all kinds of disasters, but for quite a few of them, the police cruiser and cells left the biggest impression.
STEP is a program dreamed up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for rising fifth-graders, teaching them the basics of being prepared for such things as storms and extreme weather.
“My favorite part was seeing the jail part,” said 10-year-old Siri.
“I liked the police car the best,” Kelsey, 10, said.
But Emily, 9, had a different takeaway. “I liked how they took us down to the basement to see what goes on in their daily life of working,” she said. The Emergency Communications Center and the shooting ranges are in the building’s basement.
The children all agreed, though, that they planned to talk with their families at dinner that night about creating an emergency plan.
Before going for their tour, the children watched videos about possible emergency scenarios — no electricity during a snowstorm or hurricane. After each short video, officers went over what they just learned. Each got a small, yellow sack to start their own emergency kit, with pouches of water, a flashlight, whistle and first aid kit. They also received a certificate.
“We’ve done two sessions, and we have two more to go,” officer Lance Newkirchen said, explaining they merged the separate parts of the program provided by FEMA into a two-hour class. “We customized it.”
Newkirchen said the emergency kit items were provided by local merchants, and the program is free to participants. He said this is STEP’s pilot program this year, but they hope to offer it again next year.
Additional sessions will take place July 31, Aug. 7 and 14 from 10 a.m. to noon at police headquarters, 100 Reef Road. To sign up, visit fpdct.com/step.