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Thursday, 01 October 2009 10:22

Preparing Children for Disasters

Written by  ADAM PRESTOPNIK

Earlier this year, students in a graduate level disaster management course at Elmira College had the opportunity to speak with Holly Harrington, special assistant to the director of the office of public affairs at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The focus of this conversation was not, however, nuclear power. Rather, students were given the opportunity to learn, in depth, about one aspect of Holly’s former position with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); the creation of FEMA for Kids. It is understood that anyone can be affected by a disaster, but children require special attention when it comes to explaining disasters and disaster mitigation. In 1996 Holly was given the task of creating an interactive website, to be used both at home and in the classroom, the mission of which was to educate children about disasters. Although originally designed for children in grades 3-4, the site eventually included sections that covered