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The Pillowcase Project Teaches Preparedness to APW Students

Red Cross - Central New York - Pillowcase Project
I pledge to be prepared for emergencies by learning how emergencies happen, practicing how to stay safe and sharing what I learned today at home with my friends.

Altmar-Parish-Williamstown fourth graders recently learned emergency preparedness tips through the American Red Cross Pillowcase Project.

Sponsored by Disney, “The Pillowcase Project is a preparedness education program for children in grades 3 through 5, which teaches students about personal and family preparedness, local hazards and basic coping skills.”

Chad Bigelow and Heather Holmes’ classes listened to American Red Cross presenter Ellyn Gloshinski share about emergencies such as fires and floods and how to be better prepared for those kinds of situations.

A portion of the learning involved coping skills during emergency circumstances. The students were instructed to choose a favorite color as their “happy place” color and a lesser favorite as their “bad feelings” color. Closing their eyes, the class practiced imagining their happy color and pleasant thoughts as they inhaled and visualizing their bad color and stress leaving their body as they exhaled.

Students received an emergency preparedness workbook to take home, which included a family communication plan, an evacuation blueprint and emergency contact cards to carry with them.

In the event of fire, the fourth graders learned that they needed to designate a meeting spot away from the house (such as a fire hydrant or mailbox) to help their family and the firemen know who is missing. Having and practicing an escape plan can save lives.

Pillowcases were given to each student to use as an emergency supply kit at home. Suggested items to include were a flashlight, batteries, a first aid kit, water and even pictures of family members to be able to show emergency responders what they look like.

Gloshinski concluded the class with the reading of a pledge: “I pledge to be prepared for emergencies by learning how emergencies happen, practicing how to stay safe and sharing what I learned today at home with my friends.”

Photo caption: APW fourth graders Ethan Cronk, Dalton Cox, Makayla Cobb and Corey Dobson proudly display their emergency supply pillow cases from the American Red Cross, which will be filled with items like blankets, radios and flashlights.

Photo caption: Alexis Peyton and Emma Derby write their names on their emergency supply pillowcases provided by the American Red Cross Pillowcase Project.

Photo caption 3: Ellyn Gloshinski from the American Red Cross teaches APW fourth graders tips on emergency preparedness.

Naomi Hines is the Public Relations Assistant for the Center for Instruction, Technology & Innovation in Mexico, N.Y.