LANSING – More than 350 fifth-grade students in 11 schools across the state, including many in Upper Michigan, are learning how to prepare for disasters, react during emergencies and develop a supply kit as part of a national program, called the Student Tools for Emergency Planning (STEP). Today, the Pansophia Academy in Coldwater, Michigan was the first of 11 schools to teach the curriculum to fifth-graders during the 2011-2012 school year.
“This is the first year Michigan was selected to participate in the STEP Program, which is instrumental in educating students about how they can prepare and stay safe during an emergency,” said Capt. W. Thomas Sands, commander of the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD). “Students can then take that knowledge home and share it with family and friends making their
communities better prepared when a disaster strikes.”
STEP is a ready-to-teach classroom curriculum designed for teachers to
help prepare fifth-grade students for various emergencies including
tornadoes, flooding and storms. As part of the program, students also
put together their own emergency supply kit and learn how to develop a
family emergency plan.
The STEP program provides teachers with materials at no cost to the
school, including instructor guides, copies of student handouts and
starter emergency supply kits for each student. The basic lesson
includes one hour of instruction, but teachers have the option of
expanding the lessons to include eight hours of material. STEP
curriculum can be taught by teachers, school officials, first responders
This past fall, teachers from 11 schools statewide signed-up to
participate in STEP and teach the curriculum by the end of the 2011-2012
school year. Michigan is one of only a few states selected to
participate in the STEP Program, which will be offered again next year
with the hopes of educating at least 2,000 fifth-graders statewide. The
STEP Program was initially piloted in the New England states and was
offered in Wisconsin last year.
STEP is sponsored by the MSP/EMHSD and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Schools participating in STEP include:
Bishop Baraga Catholic School Iron Mountain
Burt Township School Grand Marais
Central School Iron Mountain
Father Marquette Middle School Marquette
Gilbert Elementary School Gwinn
Ishpeming Middle School Ishpeming
K.I. Sawyer Elementary School Gwinn
Nah Tah Wahsh Public Academy Wilson
North Dickinson County School Felch
Powell Township School Big Bay