Press Release



More than 16,800 Students across the Five Boroughs Trained Through Ready Schools Emergency Preparedness Program

June 11, 2015 — The New York City Emergency Management Department and the Department of Education today presented the Ready School of the Year Award to Principal Lenny Santamaria at I.S. 24, Myra S. Barnes, in Staten Island, for its outstanding commitment to preparedness education. The teachers at I.S. 24 recognized the importance of preparing for emergencies and worked with their students to develop innovative social media safety methods for students on the Web. This school year, more than 16,800 students across the five boroughs have received emergency preparedness training through the Ready Schools program. New York City Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito was joined by John Shea, Chief Executive Officer for the Division of School Facilities for the Department of Education. Mr. Shea presented the award.

"You are never too young or too old to start learning about emergency preparedness," Commissioner Esposito said. "From developing a plan on social media safety, to encouraging students to sign up for Notify NYC, the teachers and students here at I.S. 24 have done an outstanding job of recognizing the importance of having an emergency plan, and we're here today to honor this school's dedication and commitment to preparedness awareness and education."

This school year, NYC Emergency Management presented its preparedness program to the 1,500 I.S. 24 middle-school students, the school's Parent Teacher’s Association, and the school's family science night. Building on the Ready New York presentation, the tech-savvy sixth and seventh graders combined their preparedness education with their digital skills to make online safety a priority. The students worked together to develop a pamphlet to provide Web and social media safety tips for their peers. The "Think Before You Send" cyber safety campaign included advice on the don’ts of using the Web. Tips included: "don't text an unknown number", "don't post something on the Internet that you can’t take back", and "don't give out private information or passwords to people, not even your friends, because it might not be who you think it is." Students will distribute the pamphlets throughout their communities. The students also learned about how NYC Emergency Management is using social media to keep their communities safe during emergencies. For example, students were encouraged to download the Ready NYC app, sign up for Notify NYC, follow New York City Emergency Management on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and locate their hurricane evacuation zone through the Know Your Zone campaign.

"On behalf of the entire I.S. 24 school community we are proud to accept the award from New York City Emergency Management and the recognition it stands for," Principal Santamaria said. "Our work around safety preparedness, communication and social media safety is of high importance to so many of us."

During the 2014-2015 school year, NYC Emergency Management's Ready New York program hosted 127 presentations in over 50 schools throughout the five boroughs and trained more than 16,800 students in preparedness. These included the "tween" preparedness presentation for sixth through eighth grade students, and the first Spanish-language tween presentation. Since January 2015, New York City Emergency Management has trained more than 2,000 middle-school students through the tween program.

About the Ready Schools Initiative

During fall 2007, NYC Emergency Management and DOE launched the Ready New York for Kids preparedness program by distributing 1.1 million Ready New York for Kids guides to the City's public school children along with classroom handouts for teachers. In 2008, NYC Emergency Management and DOE created a curriculum for children and teens to educate them on the importance of preparedness by making a plan with their families and gathering emergency supplies, like stay-at-home kits and Go Bags and most importantly bringing this information home to share it with their families. To date, NYC Emergency Management staff have visited 400 schools, conducted 800 workshops and assemblies, and trained more than 90,000 students.

Ready Schools focuses on three key messages:

  • Get Ready: Make a Plan – Have at least two phone numbers – one local and one out-of- state number – you can call in an emergency and practice the plan with adults in your home.
  • Get Set: Prepare a Stay-at-Home Kit – During emergencies that require you to stay at home, have extra food and water for all family members and a battery-operated radio for news updates.
  • Get Ready to Go: Pack a Go Bag – During emergencies that require you to leave your home, have a Go Bag with emergency supplies.

Ready Schools and Ready New York for Kids are part of NYC Emergency Management's Ready New York emergency preparedness program. Launched in 2003, the Ready New York program includes 12 multilingual publications, video content, an advertising campaign, interactive Web content, a speakers' bureau, and extensive community outreach. Ready New York guides are available in 13 languages. For more information about the Ready Schools initiative, visit or call 311.

Nancy Silvestri/Omar Bourne (718) 422-4888