SEYMOUR - On August 31, 2016 a presidential proclamation was issued by President Barack Obama declaring September as “National Preparedness Month."
Last week all Seymour Public Schools fourth grade students participated in the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s “Students Tools for Emergency Planning” program, also known as STEP.
This is the 10th year Seymour students have participated in the STEP Program, which was piloted in Seymour in 2008. Seymour Public Schools Director of Security Rich Kearns received national recognition when FEMA modeled the program nationally after the Seymour program. The STEP Program is sponsored by FEMA and the Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Kearns has been presenting the program for the last 10 years to all fourth grade students at Bungay Elementary School and Chatfield-LoPresti Elementary School.
Seymour Police Department Community-School Resource Officer John Harkins and Seymour Citizens Emergency Response Team President Robert Wilson assisted Kearns this year showing students the steps on how to prepare student's families in the event an emergency or disaster was to strike.
Each student was given a backpack to take home that contained items to help start building their own family emergency kit along with information to share with their families to better prepare them in the event of an emergency. The goal of STEP Program is to provide some resources to families in the community to better prepare them for emergencies as it is found that if people are better prepared to deal with a crisis the outcomes and recovery process will be that much easier for them.
Throughout September, Kearns, Seymour Fire Marshal Tim Willis, Seymour Emergency Management Director Tom Eighmie, Seymour Police Department Community-School Resource Officer Harkins, as well as other first responders conducted emergency response drills district-wide with all students K-12. All Star Transportation Safety Supervisor Brenda Bass and school bus safety team members also joined Kearns in conducting school bus evacuation drills for students in the district who ride the bus to school.
All of these programs and drills are part of a continuous effort by Seymour Public Schools and Seymour Emergency Services Personnel working together to better prepare our schools and families in the event an emergency were to occur and to help make our schools a safer place.
(This is a press release from Rich Kearns)