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5th grade students at Parks Elementary School

Oklahoma City - September marks the third straight year the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security (OKOHS) will be supporting and promoting preparedness in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (USDHS) National Preparedness Month.  USDHS started National Preparedness Month in 2004 to encourage Americans to take simple and inexpensive steps to prepare for all kinds of emergencies in their homes, businesses and schools.

"It is important to remember that being prepared can help in various emergencies, not just terrorist attacks," said Kerry Pettingill, Oklahoma Homeland Security Director. 

"We want kids and their families to focus on three basic steps this September:  Get a Kit, Make a Plan and Be Informed abou the kinds of emergencies that can happen any place you may be.  These three steps can make life easier after a tornado, house fire or any other emergency."

The students at Thelma R. Parks Elementary School in Oklahoma City have been learning about preparedness through interactive games, puzzles, coloring pages and classroom lessons.  They will be showing off their knowledge at a special assembly Friday, Sept. 1.  After a brief weather presentation by the National Ocean Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the 5th-grade students will go on a scavenger hunt for items that belong in their emergency supply kit.

Special guests at the National Preparedness Month launch will include Director Pettingill; Assistant Superintendent for Innovation and Support Dr. Mary Meritt, State Department of Education; Deputy Director of the Ready Campaign, Heather Blanchard; NOAA Meteorologist Dan McCarthy; Executive Director of Student Performance Dr. Linda Toure, Oklahoma City Public Schools; Oklahoma City Public School District 5 Board Member Ms. Thelma R. Parks; and New Orleans Hornets Mascot, Hugo the Hornet.

"We are extremely pleased that the students, staff and faculty at Thelma R. Parks Elementary are joining our preparedness campaign and letting us kickoff a month of activities at their school," said Pettingill.