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County to deliver Disaster Education Program Kit to all elementary schools "Masters of Disaster" Kit provides lesson plans for integrating disaster preparedness and safety into the classroom

( Woodbury , NJ )- Gloucester County Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney and Freeholder Helene M. Reed announced today that Gloucester County is delivering 100 Masters of Disaster teaching kits to elementary schools throughout the county. Masters of Disaster is an interactive disaster safety curriculum for children.

Developed by the American Red Cross, Masters of Disaster teaches children the skills and knowledge they need to prepare for a disaster, to recognize the warning signs for certain disasters, and to recover from a disaster in their home, school, or community.

If there was a lesson to be learned about Hurricane Katrina it was a lesson of disaster preparedness. Disaster preparedness is something we can teach our children about so they are educated and feel empowered about what they can do in a time of disaster, rather than being scared about the unknown, said Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney.

Sweeney said, Children watching the events of Hurricane Katrina are really frightened about what could happen during a hurricane, flood or other disaster. The Freeholder Director stated, Masters of Disaster will give our teachers the tools to help educate students on the science of weather events, which will take some of the mystery out of hurricanes and floods, and what they can do be prepared and take action in the event of a disaster, Sweeney said.

Freeholder Helene M. Reed, liaison to the Emergency Response explained that the Gloucester County agencies dealing with emergency preparedness; the Gloucester County Office of Emergency Response, the Gloucester County Department of Health and Senior Services and the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office have been working with Dr. Mark Stanwood, Gloucester County Superintendent of Schools in educating elementary school children about disasters.

Pre-event planning and preparedness for natural and man-made disasters can save lives and our children can be active participants in emergency preparedness, said Freeholder Reed. Often times they teach adults a thing or two, she said.

 Utilizing the county's Homeland Security funds designated for education, we have purchased the Red Cross Masters of Disaster kits for every elementary school throughout Gloucester County , said Freeholder Helene Reed.

Reed said,September is also National Preparedness Month, and in addition to teaching our children how to be prepared for disasters, it is essential for everyone to have an emergency plan and a kit for their family.

For information on creating an emergency plan and kit, residents can call the Office of Emergency Response at 307-7100, or the Bioterrorism Preparedness Program at 307-4802, and request a booklet called Ready Together New Jersey.   They can also visit the county website at : http://www.co.gloucester.nj.us/Government/Departments/HealthInstit/BT/main.htm   align="left" class="indexBody">and click on the booklet for on line review.

The Masters of Disasters curriculum is a collection of activities, lesson plans, posters, stickers, certificates and a video specifically tailored for the upper elementary (grades 3-5) classes.

Through the curriculum, students and families learn about the science of disasters; how to prepare for earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and lightning; and what to do in the event of one of these hazards. The materials are designed to teach this lifesaving information through regular classes in math, science, social studies and language arts.

The kit meets the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards and is flexible and easy for teachers to use. It is designed to help teachers meet state and local performance objectives while arming families and communities for whatever disasters the future may bring.

The county will begin distribution of the kits to the schools this week.