Ready Girl, a creation of NYC Emergency Management makes her debut.
Faster than an exquisitely-trained emergency management team springing into action. More powerful than a state-of-the-art EOC staring down a hurricane. It’s Ready Girl.
That’s right: Mindful that kids can be motivated into action by super heroes, and parents can be spurred into action by their insistent kids, the New York City Emergency Management Department (NY EMD) has invented the emergency preparedness superhero, Ready Girl.
Making her debut alongside Spiderman and Brooklyn third-graders on Oct. 21, 2015, Ready Girl’s mission is to teach kids all over NYC about emergency preparedness. This includes showing schoolkids how to make family emergency plans, identify emergency contacts, arrange family meeting places before emergencies occur, and pack “Go Bags” with emergency supplies. To add fun to emergency preparedness, Ready Girl also teaches kids to make their own superhero costumes, and gives away emergency coloring books and guides.
Ready Girl even reveals her secret super powers during these sessions. Her powers “include flying, but only when every item she might need in an emergency is packed in her Go Bag,” said Christina Farrell, NYC EMD deputy commissioner for External Affairs. “She also writes emergency plans at lightning speed, and she responds to emergencies in NYC alongside FDNY and NYPD.”
So where did Ready Girl come from? It wasn’t Krypton, but rather the creative minds at NYC Emergency Management. Since 2007, the department’s Ready Kids emergency preparedness program has been brainstorming ideas to mobilize NYC’s youngest.
Prior to Ready Girl’s arrival, NYC EMD had released an emergency preparedness story book for younger children, a “choose-your-own adventure-type” series for older kids, and launched visits by NYC EMD staff and volunteers to schools, after-school programs, Boy/Girl Scout troops, and other kids’ groups. “Introducing Ready Girl into the suite of Ready Kids materials, which already include games, stickers, pencils and other fun content, is the next step in our agency’s tireless efforts to try innovative and creative ways to make emergency preparedness education fun and meaningful” said Katelyn James, the department’s Ready New York outreach coordinator.
Now appearing at NYC schools, community events, and other public venues, Ready Girl teaches kids about preparedness with a 30- to 45-minute presentation. During her talk, Ready Girl reads poems, including her favorite: “It’s time for us to make a plan in case we’re not together; a plan for where we’ll meet loved ones in any kind of weather. By getting ready with a plan, we know that we will be feeling safer and prepared — Ready in an emergency.” She also teaches kids what should and shouldn’t be put in a Go Bag; the latter category including a rubber chicken and a pineapple.
Now that Ready Girl has arrived in the Big Apple, NYC EMD plans to have her visit thousands of local kids annually, form partnerships with other crusading organizations to reach a wider audience, and promote her adventures through a Ready Girl cartoon and comic — where she will battle her nemesis, Mother Nature.
James Careless has written extensively on public safety issues for Government Video, Law and Order, and Urgent Communications magazines.