With the next school season right around the corner, DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin encourages parents to take the time to talk to their children about emergency preparedness. Numerous hazards can affect schools and campuses, such as extreme weather events, school violence, public health risks and hazardous materials incidents.
Cronin said parents play a critical role when it comes to the safety and well-being of their children.
“It is important for parents to understand emergency preparedness, but that alone isn’t enough. I encourage parents to take proactive steps and visit the ProtectDuPage.org website to learn specific steps they can take to help prepare children for emergencies,” he said.
Regional Superintendent Dr. Darlene Ruscitti echoed the importance of emergency preparedness for children.
“We share a responsibility with parents to educate our children and keep them safe. Emergency preparedness especially benefits children. Taking steps now can make a world of difference for children when disaster strikes,” she said.
Parents are encouraged to:
• Know your child’s school or daycare emergency plan.
• Find out where children will be taken in the event of an evacuation during school hours.
• Ensure your emergency contact information is up-to-date at your child’s school.
• Pre-authorize a friend or relative to pick up your children in an emergency and make sure the school knows who that designated person is.
• Have a family communications plan and review the plan periodically with your child. The plan should include contact information for an out-of-area family member or friend, since local telephone networks may not work during a major disaster.
The DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (OHSEM) actively works with parents, schools and students to help them prepare for emergencies. OHSEM staff members are available to speak to parents and students about ways to prevent and prepare for emergencies. Additionally, the agency hosts statewide training for Illinois D.A.R.E. Officers in addition to participating in safety drills and annual safety plan reviews with school administrators.
To learn how to partner with the DuPage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to help your school become safer, please visit www.ProtectDuPage.org