Student Union Hosts Emergency Preparedness Fair

The Student Union hosted its first Emergency Preparedness Fair on December 18, which showcased emergency response agencies from around the city.

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The Student Union hosted its first Emergency Preparedness Fair in the cafeteria on December 18. Representatives from six agencies around the city participated in the fair, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), NYC Emergency Management, American Red Cross, NYC Police Department, NYC Fire Department, and the Community Emergency Response Team.

Sophomore Caucus President and FEMA National Youth Preparedness Council Member Katerina Corr communicated with FEMA and NYC Emergency Management to organize the event. She was assisted by Assistant Principal of Safety, Health, and Physical Education Brian Moran, who helped with issues regarding the actual setup of the fair, such as space and coordinating with the different agencies.

Corr recognized the importance of hosting an Emergency Preparedness Fair at Stuyvesant in order to increase student awareness of the significance of preparation and safety during emergencies. “We don’t learn a lot about preparedness, and I think that it’s a really important aspect of our lives that we just don’t really talk about,” Corr said. “If a disaster were to happen, we count on our parents or our family members to tell us what to do and what our evacuation plan is, and so on. But at some point, we’re going to have to be able to do that and increasing youth preparedness leads to a prepared community in the future, so I wanted to start small with our school and go from there.”

Those who attended the fair also felt that it was beneficial to both students and parents. “The school is one of the ways that parents and students stay informed and connected, and I think it’s really important that there are opportunities like this where parents and students can take information away that can be helpful,” sophomore Julian Giordano said.

The agencies present at the fair hoped to educate students and parents on how to prepare for emergencies. In particular, they stressed the importance of being proactive. “Having an evacuation plan that is agreed upon by your family members is very important. You should have escape routes planned and have survival kits packed and ready to go. You should have a meeting point and agreed-upon exit routes so you always know where the people in your family are when there’s a fire,” American Red Cross representative Zoe Dulchinos said.

Students generally had a positive experience attending the Emergency Preparedness Fair because they learned helpful tips about being safe during natural disasters, on the internet, and at home. Giordano named the NYPD as an agency at the fair that peaked his interest, since they provided extensive material and information about scams that can happen in our everyday life, a topic that many people are unaware of.

Moran acknowledged various rough patches in the execution of the event, one major issue being attendance. Instead of having students attend the fair for a grade boost, Moran wanted people who were genuinely interested in the topic of emergency preparedness to go to the event. “I always hesitate to [offer] the whole extra credit thing, which seems to help with student attendance. It takes away [from the event], and it makes it more so people just want to sign in,” he said.

To increase attendance for future fairs, Moran proposed the idea of hosting the fair during a time when more people are able to attend and in a more accessible location. “We could do it in the lobby, at an open house, or during parent-teacher conferences where there is more traffic and people might be more inclined to stop by,” he said.

Both Corr and Moran expressed hopes of hosting another Emergency Preparedness Fair in the future. In the case that another one is hosted, Moran suggested inviting more groups to the fair and encouraging more people to attend the event.