The Student Tools for Emergency Planning (STEP) program is a classroom-based emergency preparedness curriculum for fourth and fifth grade students.
Since launching over a decade ago, more than 85,000 Wisconsin children have participated in the STEP program. While it designed with school classrooms in mind, STEP is open to any organization that offers youth education programs to 9-11 year-old children.
STEP is designed to teach students how to prepare for various emergencies and encourages them to share the information with their families to develop their own family emergency plan. Along with the knowledge learned in the classroom, each student is provided with free starter materials to help them create their own emergency kit.
The curriculum was designed by educators working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The program is offered by the state at no cost to schools and other educational groups.
STEP Registration for the 2022 – 23 School year is currently Open!
STEP materials are expected to ship in late January of 2023, with the intent that educators teach the STEP curriculum during the spring months. Many choose to offer the program during the state’s Tornado and Severe Weather Awareness Week campaign, which takes place in April.
STEP includes three core lessons that can be taught in as little as 30 minutes. Educators can also incorporate supplemental lessons on specific disasters – severe weather, fire, flood, and pandemic emergencies.
A series of YouTube videos for kids, called “Disaster Dodgers,” helps introduce each concept.
An activity book offers 18 activities to reinforce ideas and spark creativity.
Additional Curriculum materials, including units focused specifically on hazards such as flooding, severe weather, and pandemics, are available directly from FEMA.