GALESBURG, Ill, – Ready in the Middle is an emergency preparedness initiative focused on pre-teens, teens, and their families. Developed for youth ages 10 -19, RITM gives youth participants and their families an opportunity to identify risks and hazards in and around their home by taking part in a comprehensive home hazards hunt. After any potential hazards are identified, the family discusses strategies to help mitigate risks. There is also an emergency preparedness component to RITM.
"Ready in the Middle involves the entire household, teaching everyone to identify and mitigate risks and hazards in and around the house," says Duane Friend, Illinois Extension energy and environmental stewardship educator. After identifying the risks and hazards, families discuss solutions to enhance safety and preparedness.
The program focuses on children’s bedrooms, baby nurseries, adult bedrooms, kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and laundry areas, as well as outdoor areas, such as the backyard or pool area. The program also focuses on safety and risks related to electrical wires, cords, outlets, heating and cooling elements, and firearms.
Families review the home's emergency equipment, make local emergency contact lists, make escape plans, go over communication plans, and make first aid kits.
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