Thursday, June 26, 2014

School and community safety takes all of us, including students

June is National Safety Month, an observance sponsored by the National Safety Council. This year’s theme, “Safety: It Takes All of Us,” is a reminder that anyone can contribute to their community’s safety, especially when it comes to being prepared for emergencies.

For our latest podcast, APHA’s Get Ready campaign spoke to Alex Pasculle, a member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Youth Preparedness Council, about how teens can be a part of their community’s emergency preparedness and awareness.

Formed in 2012 to bring together youth leaders from across the country who are passionate about making a difference in their communities, FEMA’s National Youth Preparedness Council gives students an opportunity to plan and carry out a community project during their term, as well as sharing their perspective on FEMA initiatives and projects. This April, Pasculle worked to put together an emergency and community preparedness fair in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Pasculle has a long history of involvement in emergency preparedness, volunteering as a firefighter, life support instructor and emergency medical technician. He also helped organize a fundraiser to raise money for 2012 tsunami victims in Japan. He was lauded this year for the role he played in assisting students at his high school following a stabbing attack.

Pasculle encouraged other students to get involved in disaster and emergency preparedness.

“(They can) speak to their schools or teachers or parish or even youth ministers and tell them that they're interested…Or they can reach out to local fire departments and stations,” Pasculle told the Get Ready campaign.

Part of youth leadership and engaging the public in emergency preparedness is sharing messages through social media, Pasculle says, particularly via tools that appeal to younger audiences. Pasculle suggests using social media and the Internet to reach family and loved ones during an emergency if regular means of communications aren’t available.

For more information about how youth can get involved in emergency preparedness, listen to the podcast

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