New Emergency Education Program For Children - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

New Emergency Education Program For Children

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Natural disasters, like fires or floods, can happen at any moment.

The American Red Cross is introducing a new program into the Erie County School District, geared towards preparing children for emergency situations.

Chris DeRosa is a retired nurse and an active volunteer with Erie's American Red Cross Chapter.  DeRosa was one of the 17 volunteers trained on Saturday, to teach kids what to do if disaster strikes.

"During a hazard, education is knowledge and kids want to know what to do," said DeRosa.  "If we go in and tell them, even as grown-ups we get scared and we know they're going to get scared, but we want to explain to them what each hazard is and how to cope with it."

The emergency education program is called The Pillowcase Project.

The project was started by an American Red Cross Chapter in Southeast Louisiana and was used in New Orleans schools, following Hurricane Katrina.

Volunteers are excited to bring the Pillowcase Project to Erie.

"We've really been learning the soft skills of what it means to be an instructor and to really engage the kids," said Red Cross volunteer, Dustin Phillips.  "You don't want to scare them, you just want to bring the right amount of fun to make this something that they're going to remember and also something they'll want to continue learning about after we're gone," he said.

Each child in the program will receive their own pillowcase, filled with items such as a First Aid Kit, flashlight, batteries, water and more.

Red Cross volunteers know we've seen an unusually high number of house fires, this winter season.  Instructors say, that's the first disaster kids will learn how to prepare for.

"Every child that takes this program is taught about home fires and then we branch out from there to covering floods in the spring and tornadoes in the summer," said Red Cross volunteer, Trisha Lawrence.

In it's start up, "Project Pillowcase" will be taught to 4th graders in all Erie County schools that accept the program.

Volunteers hope to grow the program and bring lessons of preparedness to students, 3rd through 5th grade.

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