Top Emergency Preparedness Resources for Afterschool Programs

Is your afterschool program prepared for emergencies?  Afterschool programs, unlike public schools, have no federal mandate to have an emergency plan but that doesn't mean that expectations from parents and your community are not still high.  If a major emergency strikes, such as one of the magnitude of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, then parents will expect that you will take care of their children until the parents can come pick them up.  In the case of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, we saw that in some situations, parents could not reach their children on the same day, meaning that school staff were responsible for the children overnight and sometimes for several days after.

As there is no federal mandate for afterschool programs, that means that resources for building afterschool emergency plans can be a little scarce.  I shared the following resources at a workshop for the Oregon Afterschool Conference a few weeks ago and wanted to post them here for everyone to access.

Emergency Planning for Afterschool Programs Case Study
  •  “Lessons Learned: Emergency Management Planning for After-school Programs.” U.S. Department of Education, Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools Technical Assistance Center.
Emergency Planning
Staff Training
Emergency Supplies
Have you found other resources that have been particularly helpful?  Please share in the comments below.

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Top Hurricane Apps for the Tech Savvy Prepper

Traveling to hurricane country this hurricane season?  Get your disaster planning tech savvy with these hurricane tech tools:

American Red Cross: Shelter View  (free)
The American Red Cross developed a free app that maps shelter locations and details across the United States.  The app can tell you which shelters are open, who is managing the shelter and the capacity and current population of the shelter.  It also gives the latest disaster information.   

Those without an iPhone can find the same information online at and clicking on “Find a Shelter.” 

Hurricane Forecaster (free)
For the visual folks, the Hurricane Forecaster for iPhone gives detailed forecast maps that show where the storm is now and where it’s headed to next.  You can also find out how powerful the storm will be in a 48-hour forecast.  This app uses data from the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Tracker ($1.99)
Hurricane Tracker offers push alerts for all the latest Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Hurricane information.  Tracks storms, warnings and advisories and exclusive custom audio and video updates.  For iPhone and iPad.

Hurricane and Hurricane HD ($3.99)
Hurricane and Hurricane HD (for iPhone and iPad respectively) just went through a redesign for the 2011 hurricane season, offering the ability to plot multiple storms on an interactive tracking map, worldwide hurricane, typhoon and cyclone tracking, push notifications and an interactive 5 day forecast cone.  It also offers the ability to view past hurricanes for comparison.

Still need to get you and your family prepared for hurricanes?  Get our Hurricane Kit filled with 72 hours worth of supplies packed into a sturdy backpack for quick hurricane evacuation.

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What does your Tornado Safe Room look like?

FEMA Safe Room
FEMA recently reported that a safe room built in Tushka, OK saved the lives of hundreds of residents during the April 14, 2011 tornado.  Almost 200 men, women, children and firefighters stood shoulder-to-shoulder and rode out winds of up to 165 mph in the safe room built adjacent to the Tushka Elementary.

A properly designed safe room is built to provide near-absolute protection from injury or death in extreme-wind situations such as tornadoes or hurricanes.  Safe rooms can be built either inside your home, or in a free-standing structure outside your house.

Best practices on how to build a safe room can be found on FEMA's website - which I suggest you look into if you live in tornado/hurricane country.  Building your own safe room can be expensive, especially if you are not handy with a hammer yourself - but FEMA funding is available.

Residential safe rooms are often built to hold 16 people and are recommended to be placed in your basement, on a concrete slab-on grade foundation or garage floor, or in an interior room on the first floor.

While standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a room full of 200 people doesn't sound fun, it sure beats the fear that I am sure Kansas City Chief's CB Javier Arenas felt waiting out the recent Tuscaloosa tornado in his bathtub.

Do you have a safe room?  What's it look like?  We'd love to see your pictures!  You can email them to info (at) or post them on Facebook at

Pick up a honey bucket kit or tornado kits for your safe room at our store!

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