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PRESS CONTACT INFO

ROBIN ERICKSON
Director of Communications

PHONE
(401) 831-7700 x101
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[email protected]

Tuesday, September 24, 2002
Providence Students to Become "Masters of Disaster" -- Press Event to Launch New Emergency Preparedness Curriculum Tuesday at 1:15pm

As Hurricane Isidore wreaks havoc in Mexico, Providence City School students will be learning how to handle such a weather emergency when it strikes Rhode Island, thanks to a new Red Cross disaster education program being implemented in Providence's elementary and middle schools.

The American Red Cross of Rhode Island is teaming up with the Providence Emergency Management Office and Providence Schools for "Masters of Disaster," an emergency-preparedness curriculum that will be taught in every Providence elementary and middle school. The first "Masters of Disaster" kits were presented on Tuesday, September 24th at Roger Williams Middle School.

On Tuesday, September 24, at 1:15pm at Roger Williams Middle School, 278 Thurbers Ave. in Providence, there will be a classroom demonstration of the Red Cross "Masters of Disaster" program and a presentation of the program by Providence Mayor John Lombardi and other city, school and Red Cross officials.

Through a federal community disaster education grant, Peter Marinucci, Director of the Providence Emergency Management Agency, has purchased 222 Red Cross "Masters of Disaster" kits. One kit, which includes an age-appropriate curriculum (K-2, 3-5, 6-8) will be available for each grade level at each school. The kit helps teach students the science of disasters as well as how to prepare themselves and their families for hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters.

Providence is the first district in Rhode Island to implement the program district-wide.

"What better way to teach disaster preparedness than through school children," Marinucci explains. "Whether it is a major house fire, hurricane or other emergency, the Providence EMA always works side-by-side with the Red Cross. Now we are teaming up with the Providence Schools to teach our kids how to respond to a disaster."

Providence Schools Superintendent Melody A. Johnson is thrilled about the program, which was designed to mesh with National Education Standards.

"Education is really the key to safety --- the key to life-saving measures," Johnson said. "The infusion of the Red Cross "Masters of Disaster" education program into the teaching and learning of Providence Schools will help to create habits of safety in all Providence families."

Each "Masters of Disaster," kit includes lesson plans, demonstrations, and classroom activities. It is designed so that teachers can integrate important disaster safety information into core subject areas, such as language arts, math, science and social studies.

Rhode Island Red Cross Executive Director Barbara E. McGann says this program is one of the many ways the Red Cross is fulfilling its mission: to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies in the Ocean State.

"A major weather emergency could be right around the corner," McGann said. "With 'Masters of Disaster' we are introducing a whole new population to the vital importance of emergency preparedness in a fun, age-appropriate way. We hope other communities will take Providence's lead and make their students 'Masters of Disaster' as well."

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