September 4, 2013
AFT: Report by Save the Children on Disaster Preparedness
Shows Unacceptable Gaps
WASHINGTON—Statement by American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on Save the Children's "Unaccounted For: A National Report Card on Protecting Children in Disasters" (www.savethechildren.org/Get-Ready) showing numerous gaps in disaster preparedness that puts children at risk. Six states and the District of Columbia do not require schools to have a disaster plan that addresses multiple types of hazards. Also, 28 states and the District of Columbia fail to meet the minimum standards to protect children recommended by the National Commission on Children and Disaster, which was convened after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
"A safe, secure and welcoming environment at every child care center and public school is as important as a strong academic program. After Hurricane Katrina, the Newtown, Conn., shootings and the Oklahoma tornado, which took so many innocent children's lives, what more do we need to do for schools to make disaster preparedness a priority?
"Every school should have a safety committee composed of teachers and other school staff, parents, school administrators, public safety officials, students and community leaders. They should work together to develop a multi-hazard plan that is continuously reviewed so that it is a 'living' plan that is regularly practiced, evaluated and changed based on circumstances.
"The AFT has distributed to its members a back-to-school safe school environment check-list with recommended components of a plan."
Follow AFT President Randi Weingarten: http://twitter.com/rweingarten
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The AFT represents 1.5 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.