September 17, 2008 –As parts of the United States try to recover from the impact of Hurricane Ike, it’s clear that natural disasters are unavoidable. Whether people are faced with hurricanes, floods, wildfires, tornadoes, or an event such as 9/11, there is definitely a need for emergency readiness to assure that children are protected physically and psychologically in the event of a disaster. With that in mind, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, today launched Let's Get Ready! Planning Together for Emergencies as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) National Preparedness Month in September.* This bi-lingual (Spanish-English) initiative will help families with young children between the ages of two and five prepare for an emergency with basic information and ways in which they can best respond to an emergency and helps them develop a sense of resilience and self-confidence. The announcement was made today at the John Tyler Elementary School by Gary E. Knell, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop, Mrs. Meryl Chertoff, who attended on behalf of DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, and Sesame Street’s Rosita.
The program was created in collaboration with DHS’s Ready Kids and the Ad Council’s ongoing preparedness effort, which helps parents and teachers educate children, about emergencies and how they can help their families prepare. Let's Get Ready! was funded by American Greetings, with additional support from The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation and original funding provided by the Bear Stearns Charitable Foundation. The Let's Get Ready! kits will be available to download online at www.sesamestreet.org/ready and www.ready.gov/sesame.
In addition Public Service announcements will be produced by Sesame Workshop and distributed through the Ad Council to promote awareness around the importance of planning for emergencies. The Ad Council will be distributing the PSA’s to approximately 1,000 stations nationwide this week. Finally, the video component will soon be available, free of charge, on iTunes under the Learning Along with Sesame TV series.
Let's Get Ready! will provide resources for preparedness and offer strategies to confront emergencies, helping families understand that having a family plan and an emergency kit is useful for responding to any type of disaster. Families will learn that a plan enables them to operate as a unit with the whole families’ well-being in mind, even if they’re not in the same place. Additionally, Let's Get Ready! will show that creating an emergency plan with your child(ren) and in your community gives everybody a sense of connection, protection, and comfort.
“For nearly 40 years, Sesame Workshop and our beloved Sesame Street Muppets have always addressed educational and community needs through the creative use of media,” said Gary E. Knell, President and CEO, Sesame Workshop. “As we address these needs we have never shied away from delving into deep and complex issues and finding accessible and age appropriate ways to talk about these issues with children and families.”
“Family preparedness is the cornerstone of personal and community readiness, and we could not be more pleased to team up with Sesame Workshop,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “Parents, especially with young children, can use these tools to quickly and easily prepare their family for the unexpected, and equip their children with the information they need in an emergency situation.”