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I'm Not Scared When I'm Prepared

Speaker with students 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response has been working on a project called I’m not Scared when I’m prepared.” The project was originally pioneered in Utah by Weber-Morgan Health Department’s Konnie Parks.


Due to the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012, the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) unit coordinator piloted the project in Colorado Springs with funding from the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) through CDPHE. Together the MRC of El Paso County and the AspenPointe Behavioral Health Group purchased and assembled 7,000 children’s preparedness bags. They then worked with the schools to get 5,000 of these bags out to the children in the schools who lost their homes or were evacuated.

 Eager students


The project targets kindergarten and first grade students. The students are given a packet of information and three activities to take home and complete with their parents. The activities are a family scavenger hunt for preparedness items, a word search and a preparedness matching activity game. Upon completion, the parents sign the verification form and return it to the school. The MRC coordinator then provides preparedness bags to the students who have returned the verification form via a school assembly or a variety of other ways. The kids are very excited and love the bags. In fact, the bags have been seen on kids at the zoo, parks and other venues.


The bags contain a large orange bandana, bandages, whistle, pump flashlight, emergency blanket and a plastic bag. The plastic bag holds a picture of the family –including pets and information about the child (such as allergies).This is designed to assist with family reunification should the parents and child become separated during a disaster.



After they receive their bag, the children are encouraged to add items such as water, granola bars, one of their favorite toys and some clothing. In one case, the parent put certain items in a large zip-lock bag and told the child that they were to not take anything out of that bag but could change the other items as they wished.


The remaining 2,000 preparedness bags are being shared with the other 21 MRC units in Colorado to pilot the project in other parts of the state. A request for additional HPP dollars has been made to purchase more bags and keep the program going throughout the state.


This project teaches children to not be scared by providing them with a start – the bags – towards being prepared – it also helps parents become more aware of preparedness, reducing stress during an event.


For more information on this program, contact Koral O'Brien.