New tools help families and schools prepare for disasters

As the second anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America nears, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) is disseminating two new tools to help families and schools prepare for future disasters and terrorism. This nationwide school preparedness initiative is endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education.

The tools will help those who care for children assess and address various aspects of disaster planning, including safety, security and well-being. The NCTSN is administered by research teams at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and the Duke University Medical Center.

"One legacy of Sept. 11 is an awareness of the impact traumatic events have on children," said UCLA's Dr. Robert Pynoos, co-director of the NCTSN. "Across the country, parents and teachers made immediate efforts to protect children. In New York City, almost 8,500 students were evacuated, the largest school evacuation in U.S. history."

The new tools for schools and families include:

  • A checklist for schools, prepared in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education, to help administrators and principals assess and address the mental health issues that go along with ensuring the safety and well-being of students and school personnel before, during and after an emergency.
  • A family preparedness guide and wallet card to help families be prepared in the event of a disaster. A "Family Preparedness Plan" will help make sure that families are "on the same page" when it comes to planning for whom to call and where to meet. The wallet cards include important telephone numbers and Web sites for emergency information.

The new tools and informational resources regarding the anniversary of Sept. 11 are available on the NCTSN Web site, www.nctsnet.org. NCTSN sites in New York City, Los Angeles, Durham, Okla. and across the country also are preparing "best practices" for school response to violence, terrorism and disasters.

"The U

Contact: Dan Page
University of California - Los Angeles

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