SOURCE: The Hero In You Foundation

The Hero In You Foundation

August 30, 2017 14:56 ET

This National Preparedness Month, Help Keep Kids Safe Through Emergency Preparedness Education

The Hero In You Foundation and Former FEMA director James Lee Witt Encourage Parents and Educators to Teach Emergency Preparedness to Young Children

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - August 30, 2017) - With Hurricane Harvey affecting many families in Texas and Louisiana, it's a great reminder that emergencies can arise without warning and it's important for everyone to be prepared, especially our youth -- who are often the most vulnerable in these situations. While there are many programs dedicated to teaching adults what to do in case of an emergency, few programs are tailored to young children. In honor of September being National Preparedness Month, former FEMA director James Lee Witt and non-profit The Hero In You Foundation are encouraging parents and educators to start emergency preparedness discussions with kids as young as age three. The Foundation developed an engaging animated series, the "R. Hero Rules for Safety," to ensure youth are better equipped to react in any emergency situation.

"We understand that emergency preparedness conversations can be difficult and scary, especially for parents," said Bunni Benaron, Founder of The Hero In You Foundation. "That is why we created the 'R. Hero Rules for Safety' -- to have these necessary conversations with kids in a fun way, and ultimately help save lives, as kids will be better prepared for any emergency situation they may encounter."

The "R. Hero Rules for Safety" program focuses on the top five safety tips for children in case of any emergency and is being utilized by organizations across the country including the American Red Cross, Save the Children, Boys & Girls Clubs of America chapters, children's museums, fire stations and libraries. The top safety tips are:

  1. Be Prepared -- Discuss the importance of being prepared for emergency situations. This includes developing a safety plan as a family and in the classroom, practicing that plan and building emergency safety kits.
  2. Stay Calm -- In practicing your emergency safety plan and having discussions about what to do in case of emergency, you can help your child stay calm should an emergency situation arise. Practice some tips with your child on how to remain calm when a situation arises by encouraging them to take deep breaths and focusing on the plan.
  3. Follow the Plan -- Make sure kids know where to locate their emergency safety kit and discuss back up plans in case the primary exit is blocked. It's important that children understand not to worry about grabbing anything else when there's an emergency -- the most important thing is to follow the plan and get to the safe zone.
  4. Stay in Your Safe Zone -- Reinforce the importance of children staying in their safe zone until parents or a first responder come and get them. Wandering away from the safe zone could result in further danger and make it harder for parents or first responders to find them.
  5. Call for Help -- Be sure your child knows how to call for help. They can yell or use a whistle to attract the attention of an adult and should understand how to dial 911. Just as important as dialing 911, practice scenarios with your child so they know what to say when the 911 operator answers -- providing their name, address, and a description of where they are and what is happening.

These rules are reinforced with the "R. Hero Rules for Safety" animated video series, where Rocket, a Dalmatian puppy, guides children through the five simple rules, with an accompanying sing-along to help kids remember the tips all year long. Bonus episodes on specific emergencies, including dangerous intruders, earthquakes and house fires, are continuously being released for further learning opportunities.

The Foundation also offers coloring books and other supplementary materials to teachers, organizations and local governments, free of charge, to assist in the implementation of the program. A Skype call with Rocket is also available for organizations and youth groups, which offers a truly unique interactive experience between the audience and the animated character.

"The 'R. Hero Rules for Safety' program sets an excellent foundation for youth first learning about emergencies and how to keep themselves safe," said Witt. "These simple steps and important discussions have the power to save lives and reduce response times in an emergency situation -- something important for every individual and the first responders that help keep us safe."

The "R. Hero Rules for Safety" can be found on The Hero In You Foundation's website. For more information about The Hero In You Foundation, or to share the "R. Hero Rules for Safety" with your school or organization, visit TheHeroInYouFoundation.Org.

About The Hero In You Foundation
Bunni and Rick Benaron founded The Hero In You Foundation, which seeks to educate youth through emergency preparedness and honor the first responders that help keep us safe. The Benarons provide financial support for The Hero In You Foundation and are the leaders in building out robust R. Hero programs including the "R. Hero Rules for Safety" educational program, where children can learn what to do in an emergency through an online, animated video series featuring Rocket, accompanying coloring books, a children's book series and an interactive Skype program. The Foundation has also placed 30 unique six-foot tall R. Hero sculptures across 16 states, including international placements in Israel and El Salvador, at fire stations, children's hospitals, libraries, parks and children's museums. With these installations, children and their parents, caregivers and teachers have a visual reminder and conversation starter about the traits of a hero -- respect, honor, bravery and compassion for others.

For more information about The Hero In You Foundation and the R. Hero Rules for Safety program, visit TheHeroInYouFoundation.org, or follow the Foundation on Twitter @TheHeroInYouFdn or on Facebook at Facebook.com/TheHeroInYouFoundation.

About James Lee Witt
James Lee Witt is best known for turning FEMA into an internationally acclaimed all-hazards disaster management agency. As FEMA Director from 1993-2001, and later on as a consultant, Witt coordinated federal disaster response and recovery on behalf of the White House and oversaw more than 350 disasters, some of which were the most devastating disasters in U.S. history, including being hired by Louisiana Governor Blanco to oversee reconstruction efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

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