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Albany students learn how to prepare for disasters, emergencies
Third-graders Noah Lisser and Lydia Ahnen take a look at the first-aid kits included in a bag for emergency preparedness at Albany School March 21. (Times photo: Marissa Weiher)
ALBANY - With severe spring weather season approaching, nearly 30 third-grade students at Albany Elementary School learned how to be prepared in the event of a disaster or emergency during an event March 21 at the school.

The students participated in the Student Tools for Emergency Planning program, a statewide program run by Wisconsin Emergency Management. The STEP program teaches students how to be prepared for disasters, including blizzards, tornadoes, flooding, storms and fires, and develop an emergency plan with their families.

Teachers were provided with all STEP materials at no cost to the schools, including instructor guides, DVDs and copies of student handouts. All students participating in the program received an emergency kit to take home. The basic lesson is one hour of instruction, but teachers can expand the lessons to cover eight hours of materials.

Students heard from officials with Green County Emergency Management, Wisconsin Emergency Management and AT&T about how to be prepared in an emergency or disaster situation.

Wisconsin was the first state in the Midwest to teach the STEP program, according to a news release. Over 52,000 students have participated since the program began during the 2010-11 school year. Another 12,000 students are expected to participate in the 2017-18 school year in 150 schools around the state.

The 2018 STEP program is supported by a $10,000 contribution from AT&T and a $10,000 contribution from the Wisconsin Wireless Association.