Youth Emergency Preparedness (YEP!) - Kids Save Lives Too!

Youth Emergency Preparedness (YEP!) – Kids Save Lives Too!


On September 10, 2011, BRACE (Be Ready Alliance Coordinating for Emergencies) will
host its 2nd Annual Youth Emergency Preparedness Expo – YEP! – at Bayview Park in Pensacola from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as an I REMEMBER – I SERVE commemorative event. Conducting YEP!  as a salute to those who serve as volunteers in our community and those who have sacrificed so much to protect our freedom around the globe will provide a fitting tribute to remember those lives lost 10 years-ago on 9-11.


Community Need & Challenge


During 2009 the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released a report on Personal Preparedness in America: Findings from the 2009 Citizen Corps National Survey that offered comprehensive data on the public’s thoughts, perceptions, and behaviors related to preparedness and community safety for disasters.  Results of that survey indicated:


  • 29% of Americans have not prepared because they think that emergency responders will help them
  • 60% of respondents expect to rely on emergency responders in the first 72 hours following a disaster


Of survey respondents who perceived themselves to be prepared for disasters:


  • 35% did not have a household disaster plan
  • 77% had not conducted a home evacuation drill
  • 73% did not know their community’s evacuation routes


Northwest Florida is highly vulnerable to hurricanes as Erin, Opal, Georges’, Ivan and
Dennis demonstrated when they made landfall in or near Northwest Florida, impacting 100s of thousands of residents over the last 16 years. 


Addressing the Need


The YEP! event will bring together the largest number of public safety, emergency management, fire departments, law enforcement agencies and volunteers from youth serving  organizations to demonstrate that “Kids Save Lives Too!.”  It is fitting that BRACE would take lead on such an effort as a FEMA award winning Coordinator for Citizen Corps programs and services throughout Escambia County and as the successor to the Escambia Long Term Recovery Committee that assisted over 800 families address their unmet needs following hurricanes Ivan & Dennis. 


As Citizen Corps Coordinator for Escambia County the work of BRACE was recognized
by FEMA as a Finalist for the 2009 “Preparing the Public Award.”  In 2010 BRACE was recognized for coordinating an “Outstanding Citizen Corps” for its work with the Escambia Citizen Corps Council. 


What volunteers will accomplish through their service


Volunteers will provide vital education, training, information and engagement
opportunities for youth and adults attending YEP! as BRACE strives to establish a “culture of preparedness” in a community known for its vulnerable to many hazards including hurricanes.  September, “National Preparedness Month” provides perfect timing for an event that will engage Public Safety, Emergency Management and dozens of youth serving organizations in educational activities, demonstrations, U.S. Coast Guard helicopter water rescue; interactive games, from police, fire and hazmat trainers; touch a truck; rescue skills training appropriate for all ages; pet safety and much more. Volunteers from scouting and youth serving organizations will provide youth with opportunities to work on merit badges and other awards.  Volunteers will also conduct Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) demonstrations, apply moulage (made up injuries), volunteer to simulate victims of a disaster, conduct thematic face painting, and help with commemorative ceremonies. 


Tracking and documenting volunteers


500 adult and youth volunteers are expected to participate in YEP!  Volunteers will be tracked on the day of YEP! by sign-in sheets that capture name, age grouping, contact information, affiliation and other information that will be helpful for future events.  The Volunteer Module of the VisionLink Community Database System will provide a tool for documenting the service of volunteers and allow for their future engagement using technology as a tool.


Promotion of the Day of Service and Remembrance


Among BRACE’s 450+ partners are over a dozen media organizations.  They will print articles, issue television announcements, conduct live remotes and provide media personalities to draw youth and their parents to YEP!  The “Pensacola News Journal” will run stories about the event as they did with extensive coverage in 2010, including a color picture of a Coast Guard helicopter rescue demonstration from the bayou bordering the park. The Day of Service and Remembrance aspects of YEP! will create
great interest in the “Cradle of Naval Aviation” and throughout Northwest Florida, with 5 military installations within 40 miles of the event site.  In addition, the Superintendent of Schools for Escambia County serves on the BRACE Board and will provide numerous opportunities to reach out to students and in turn their parents.  The local councils of Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, ROTC, NJROTC and most youth serving organizations in Northwest Florida are active partners in YEP!


Commemorating those lost on 9-11


YEP!  will begin with the presentation of the colors by a color guard and honor guard.  A “Wall of Remembrance” will be constructed allowing each participant to create their own hands-on art project as a way of saying I REMEMBER – I SERVE.   The names of the victims of 9-11will be read aloud by volunteers throughout the event.


The names of the organizations which are currently committed to participating with YEP! include:


102.7 WXBM

4 - H

American Red Cross

Better Business Bureau of NW Florida

Cat Country 98.7

Chain Reaction

Early Learning Coalition of Escambia County

Escambia County Emergency Management

Escambia County Extension Service 

Escambia County Public Safety

Escambia Fire – Rescue

Escambia County Citizen Corps Council

Escambia County School District

Escambia CERT

Escambia High School ROTC

Florida Division of Forestry

Florida Regional Domestic Security Task Force

Girl Scout Council of the Florida Panhandle

Gulf Breeze News

Local Emergency Planning Council

McGruff, the crime-fighting dog

Pensacola Citizen Corps Council

Pensacola CERT

Pensacola Chapter – American Society of Safety Engineers

Pensacola Fire Department

Pensacola News Journal

Pensacola Parks & Recreation

Pensacola Police Department

Town of Century Citizen Corps Council

Town of Century CERT

SAFER Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa Emergency Management

Smokey Bear

Soft Rock 94.1

United States Coast Guard

United States Coast Guard Auxiliary


West Florida Regional Planning Council