Manhasset K-2 students get a lesson in emergency preparedness

Manhasset K-2 students get a lesson in emergency preparedness
BeReadyLI’s Children’s Workshop Educator Nanette McNulty teaches Shelter Rock Elementary School students about the importance of emergency preparedness. (Photo courtesy of PSEG Long Island)

Four hundred kindergartners, first-and second-graders at Shelter Rock Elementary School in Manhasset learned how to prepare for an emergency Jan. 25. The BeReady Children’s Workshop uses Sesame Street characters to teach students how to prepare before, during and after emergencies. The half-hour presentation is a safety collaboration sponsored by PSEG Long Island, the PSEG Foundation and United Way of Long Island.

The program takes topics that can be somewhat frightening for children and makes the learning fun and friendly. Familiar Sesame Street characters discuss simple tips, strategies and activities that encourage young children to incorporate emergency preparedness into family routines. Children also learn ways to cope if a disaster occurs. The program is reinforced with a variety of Sesame Street materials children take home, and a comprehensive online resource,, aimed at helping people of all ages prepare before, during and after disasters.

“The safety of our community members is very important to us, which is why this program is such a valuable workshop,” said Jorge Jimenez, PSEG Long Island director of customer experience. “Preparation is key before any emergency, and the BeReadyLI Children’s Workshop takes this critical task and makes it a fun and interactive learning experience.”

In the workshops, which are presented by the United Way, children follow along as a presenter instructs how to get ready for emergencies using props, clips from Sesame Street’s “Let’s Get Ready” special, and a question-and-answer interaction. Children also learn the importance of knowing their full names, recognizing who in the community can help in case of an emergency, knowing caregivers’ first and last names, and what should be included in their “go bags.”

At the end of workshop, students receive “go bags”—bright orange, PSEG Long Island-logoed bags containing a coloring booklet, a certificate of “Emergency Readiness,” a kid-sized PSEG Long Island-logoed hard hat, and information on how parents can help kids prepare for emergencies.

“We have reached more than 20,000 young students through the BeReadyLI Children’s Workshops, we’re teaching them the basics of preparedness in a way that helps them feel safe and engaged,” said Theresa A. Regnante, president and CEO of United Way of Long Island. “By working with the children, we introduce the concept of preparing for an emergency at its most basic level, so that they can bring what they learned home and encourage the rest of their family to join them in being ready.”

“It is important to all of us at Shelter Rock that everyone, including our students and their families, learn about emergency preparedness,” said Richard Roder, Shelter Rock Elementary School principal. “Although emergencies are unpredictable, being prepared for when they do occur is critical.”

The PSEG Foundation provided a grant to Sesame Workshop to develop “Let’s Get Ready: Planning Together for Emergencies,” and “Here For Each Other: Helping Families After Emergencies.”

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