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Youth Preparedness

Four smiling children


On July 23, 2012, FEMA announced the formation of its first Youth Preparedness Council. The Council supports FEMA’s emphasis on and dedication to involving the whole community in preparedness related activities. “Engaging youth is an integral step in preparing the nation for all hazards,” said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. “Youth have a unique ability to influence their peers and families to be more resilient, and children play an important role in disaster preparedness, during and after a crisis.”

FEMA’s Youth Preparedness Council is a unique opportunity for a select group of youth leaders to serve on a highly distinguished national council and to voice their opinions, experiences, ideas and solutions to help strengthen the nation’s resiliency for all types of disasters. Nominated by individuals who can attest to their preparedness activities, Council members demonstrate a willingness to represent the youth perspective on emergency preparedness and take information back to their communities to share it.

Children comprise approximately 25 percent of our nation’s population and are the future of our communities. They can play an important role in disaster preparedness and each have the unique ability to help their communities be safer, stronger and more resilient before, during and after a disaster or emergency event. As such, we all have a vested interest in engaging and empowering youth to become active participants in individual, family, and community preparedness. Research states that:


Youth Preparedness: A Partnership between the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Department of Education and the American Red Cross

Children can play an important role in disaster preparedness and each have the unique potential to help their communities be safer, stronger and more resilient before, during and after a disaster. 

Benefits of Youth Preparedness

Youth Preparedness is a priority at the Federal level, and is important to the resilience of any community. Leading educators and scholars in the field of preparedness education consider our nation’s youth to be the best envoy for taking preparedness messages home to their families. Findings show that households with schoolchildren who brought home preparedness materials are significantly more likely to be prepared on a range of preparedness measures than households with schoolchildren who did not bring home preparedness materials or households without schoolchildren. Of particular note, seven in 10 (70 percent) of these households receiving preparedness information from their children’s schools indicated they have a household plan they have discussed with family members compared to only four in 10 (40 percent) amongst other households. Similarly, more than twice as many of these households reported having participated in a home evacuation or shelter-in-place drill.


Tips for Successful Youth Preparedness Programs

A man hands out emergency preparedness coloring books

To locate an existing program, check out our Catalogue of Youth Disaster Preparedness Education Programs (23-page PDF).  You can also contact your local Citizen Corps Council for more information on getting started.  Additionally, FEMA provides guidance to states to encourage youth programming support at the local level. FEMA Homeland Security Grant Program Guidance (92-page PDF) allows for youth preparedness as an allowable activity (included in the Homeland Security Grant Program Suite). 

Get Involved

FEMA provides a host of valuable resources to utilize when developing a youth disaster preparedness program.

Helpful Resources

A firefighter helps a young boy hold a fire hose

The following programs provide educational resources for teachers and parents:

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