Members of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Youth Preparedness Council are meeting for the first time in Washington, D.C. this week to discuss steps to strengthen the nation’s resiliency against all types of disasters.
“This has been an opportunity for members of the Youth Preparedness Council to share their ideas, experiences, solutions and questions on youth disaster preparedness with FEMA, other federal agencies and national organizations,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “Engaging youth is critical to including the whole community in national preparedness. The Youth Preparedness Council is contributing to set a national agenda for how young people play a role in emergency management.”
The Youth Preparedness Council was formed last month in order to involve the whole community in preparedness related activities.
“Engaging youth is an integral step in preparing the nation for all hazards,” said Fugate. “Youth have a unique ability to influence their peers and families to be more resilient, and children play an important role in disaster preparedness, during and after a crisis.”
The Council members participated in roundtable discussions and plenary sessions on the first day of their two-day visit to the nation’s capital. The Council also planned to meet with Fugate and discuss steps to strengthen the nation’s overall resiliency. In addition to developing their annual work plan to address youth preparedness during national disasters, the Council is meeting with other federal and private sector partners committed to supporting their work.
“As chairperson of FEMA’s Youth Preparedness Council, I’m excited to have the opportunity to help lend youth’s voice and ideas to emergency management during disasters,” said Rebekka McCaleb of Sterling, Colorado.
Rebekka was joined by 12 other youth council members, 13-17 year of age, who comprise the Youth Preparedness Council. The council members also visited Capitol Hill and learn how disaster management legislation moves through the legislative process.
Leading educators and scholars in the field of preparedness education consider the nation’s youth to be the best envoy for taking preparedness messages home to their families, according to the Citizen Corps website. Findings show that households with schoolchildren who brought home preparedness materials are significantly more likely to be prepared than households with schoolchildren who did not bring home preparedness materials or households without schoolchildren.
For details on FEMA’s youth preparedness efforts visit the Citizen Corps website.