PARISH TAKING A NEW APPROACH TO HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS
#BePrepared campaign to include children’s activity book and summer camp field trips
This year, the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, along with the Public Information Office, is taking a new approach to hurricane preparedness by focusing campaign efforts on educating youth.
“It has been 11 years since the last major hurricane made landfall here in the U.S. (Hurricane Wilma),” said Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Director Joe Ganote. “It is our goal each and every year to combat any complacency that may have set in with our residents.”
The #BePrepared campaign inspired the creation of an activity book called The Adventures of Charlie and his Preparedness Pals. The book follows Charlie and his fellow animal friends as they help children understand the importance of being prepared for any weather emergency.
The activity book includes educational activities and learning resources to help children be prepared during any weather event.
“Joe is very passionate about breaking the cycle of complacency in our parish, and he challenged us to help find a way to change the mindset of how our youth view preparedness. Our office felt the best approach was to start creating generations that understand preparedness has to be a way of life for us,” said Interim Public Information Officer, Adrienne Bourgeois. “The book is completely original. As an office, we created the narrative and design while Emergency Coordinator, Steve Sirmon, drew the artwork. It was a challenge, but it was fun.”
The parish will launch the activity book on June 17 when the Community Services Department’s summer enrichment program goes on field trips to the Emergency Operations Center where they will listen to a presentation about preparedness from Ganote and Bourgeois. Then, the children will participate in a hands-on game that teaches them how to pack a preparedness kit. After the game, the children will tour the facility and leave with their own copy of the first-ever activity book.
“I couldn’t be prouder of this campaign. As a former fire chief, I am no stranger to educating the youth on being prepared,” said St. Charles Parish President Larry Cochran. “When the idea was pitched, they had my full support.”
The book’s printing cost was sponsored by the Shell Norco Manufacturing Complex whose partnership is expected to increase as the campaign evolves.
“Shell is proud to partner with the parish’s #BePrepared campaign to educate children on the importance of preparedness at an early age,” said Rochelle Touchard, Shell’s External Relations Manager. “This fun, learning tool will show them how they can play a role in ensuring the safety of their families in the event of an approaching storm.”
Additionally, the United Way of St. Charles donated plastic drawstring bags and crayons while sponsoring the printing cost of the newly designed #BePrepared Guide which will also be handed out throughout the community.
In addition, the Public Information Office will post social media posts geared specifically toward parish residents as well as participate in the emergency preparedness informational session sponsored by the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program set for June 25 from 9:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. at the Edward A. Dufresne Community Center in Luling.
Throughout hurricane season, the Public Information Office will also air emergency preparedness videos on SCP-TV. An updated version of the Be Prepared Guide can be found on the website.
All hurricane information and tips on social media will be shared using the hashtag #BePrepared.
For more information on parish activities, visit www.stcharlesparish-la.gov, www.facebook.com/stcharlesgov or www.twitter.com/stcharlesgov. Residents may sign up to receive e-newsletters on desired parish-related topics by visiting www.stcharlesparish-la.gov/enews and emergency texts, e-mails and phone calls at www.scpemergencyalerts.com.IMAGE: The cover of The Adventures of Charlie and his Preparedness Pals Activity Book