Mississippi ranks among the states with the most tornadoes each year.  Coupled with the risk of hurricanes and other disasters it is very important for Mississippians to be prepared for emergencies.  

The key to helping households become more prepared for emergencies is through the influence of children and youth. Households where youth bring preparedness information home are 75% more likely to be prepared for an emergency.

Through leadership from the Mississippi State University Extension Service, Mississippi is the only state in the U.S. to offer four youth focused emergency preparedness programs.  The emergency preparedness programs that are administered by the MSU Extension Service include the PREP Rally, The Pillowcase Project, Ready in the Middle, and the Mississippi Youth Preparedness Initiative (MyPi).  

Each program is designed to focus on specific age groups. The Prep Rally is designed for children between the ages of five to eleven.  The Pillowcase Project focuses on children between the ages of eight to eleven.  The Ready in the Middle program focuses on youth between the ages of eleven and twelve.  MyPi focuses on youth between the ages of thirteen and eighteen. Sponsorship of the programs comes from the Mississippi Citizen Corps, the Mississippi Office of Homeland Security, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. 

The MSU Extension office in Pontotoc County will implement The Prep Rally and the Pillowcase Project in local elementary schools during 2020. I will briefly discuss these two emergency preparedness programs.

The Prep Rally

The PREP Rally is a fun and interactive program that helps children learn their emergency contacts, make an emergency plan, make a “go-bag”, and encourages them to share what they have learned with their families and friends.

My Pillowcase Project

The Pillowcase Project helps children prepare an easily accessible emergency kit that is stored in a pillowcase.  The pillowcase will be easy to find during emergency situations which will provide a sense of calm and resiliency.

Through the leadership of the Mississippi State University Extension Service our state is preparing children, youth, teens, and families for emergency situations.  If you would like to learn more about these programs you can contact the MSU Extension office in Pontotoc County at 662-489-3910.

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