Two is the magic number for emergency preparedness, American Red Cross officials told children participating in the organization’s Pillowcase Project at the Riverfest on Monday.
Everyone needs to know at least two ways out of every room and how to escape a room in no more than two minutes during a home fire.
The Pillowcase Project, sponsored by the Walt Disney Co. and led by the American Red Cross, prepares youths for fires and tornadoes by giving them ready-to-be-colored pillowcases that can be used to hold emergency supplies. The project, which started after Hurricane Katrina, also teaches youths how to escape an emergency situation.
“We teach them how to get out of their home, what to take with them, so they can grab their filled pillowcase and they can leave their home and hopefully get out within two minutes, because that’s all the time we have to escape a home fire,” said Jennifer Sanders, executive director of the local American Red Cross chapter.
Te’asia Melton, 7, drew herself and her family’s house on the pillowcase.
“I learned if there is a fire the different ways to get out of the house,” she said.
On the pillowcase was a drawing of Mickey Mouse and friends, along with a list of items that should be included in the pillowcase emergency supplies kit – such as a flashlight, first-aid kit, change of clothes and batteries.
Karen White with the American Red Cross said children should also include a comfort item in their pillowcase, such as a stuffed animal or family photo.
Dana Davis, a volunteer for the American Red Cross, said she hopes all children who colored a pillowcase will take it home and turn it into their emergency supplies kit. More than 100 children took home pillowcases from the Riverfest event.
“And probably the most important part is creating a home-fire escape map with their families,” Davis said. “We want them to be and feel prepared in an emergency situation.”