Pillowcase Project helps youth prepare for disaster

KING 5's Michelle Li reports.

Kids across the country are preparing for disaster with the Pillowcase Project, a collaboration between the American Red Cross and Disney.

The program is designed to empower middle school students in the event of an earthquake, flood, snowstorm or other type of emergency.

The first step is called a Passport to Preparedness, which includes instructions for building a disaster kit. Next is a basic first aid course for youth. Then students take a deeper dive with the Pillowcase Project.

KING 5's Michelle Li shares details on the project from Red Cross trainer, Maggie Shepherd:

KING 5: Tell us what the Pillowcase Project is all about.
Red Cross: The Pillowcase Project is about teaching disaster preparedness to youth so that they can be prepared and confident in the situation where something happens that's really scary.

KING 5: What do we want to put in the pillowcases?
Red Cross: The pillowcases are for the kids to create their sort of own personal kit. You want the families to have a larger, bigger kit with more supplies for seven to 14 days, but for the kids, the pillowcase is something where they can put a flashlight or a comfort item such as a book, or like a stuffed animal, flash light, important papers just in case the kid gets lost.

KING 5: Where do you think they should store those?
Red Cross: We typically recommend under their bed, so somewhere that can be easily accessible in the case of a disaster. A lot of people put preparedness kits in their basement, but we actually think that putting that in your kitchen pantry or a more accessible place like under the bed is the best place for kids.

KING 5: How do we know these works for kids? What have we seen?
Red Cross: The Pillowcase Project is based off of the Hurricane Katrina disaster where kids were using their pillowcases to carry around their personal belongings. So this Pillowcase Project was born from that disaster, from it working. So it's just a way for them to have their personal belongings over their shoulder. So we know from that, that this works. And this will be really great for them.

Photos: Pillowcase Project

Join KING 5’s Disaster Preparedness Facebook group and learn how you and your community can get ready for when disaster strikes.

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