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Back to school is about emergency preparedness, disaster readiness, and vital digital technology

In the coming days, students across Illinois will venture back into the classroom. That’s why this month, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and Office of Homeland Security (IEMA-OHS), along with local Emergency Management Agencies, are highlighting resources and tips to help students better prepare for their return to the classroom.

Whether you have a new kindergartener or are a 5th year super senior in college, there are helpful resources available for students of all ages to keep them safe in the classroom throughout the school year.

There are several ways that students from elementary through high school can reach out to Safe2Help:

Here are some planning tips for parents to consider:

  • Know how your school will contact parents/guardians in the event of an evacuation.
  • Ensure the school has all of your current emergency contact information on file.
  • Pre-authorize a friend or relative to pick up your children in an emergency.
  • Teach children with cell phones about ‘Text First, Talk Later.’ Short, simple text messages, such as “R U OK?,” and “I’m OK,” are more likely to get through than a phone call if phone service is disrupted during an emergency. As phone congestion eases, you can follow up with a phone call to relay more information.

For college students, a little planning will help provide extra information before and during an emergency. Almost all colleges/universities utilize a mass notification system that alerts students via email and text messages of potential dangers, severe weather, and other threats. 

Encourage your college student to sign-up for such alerts which typically supplement the public alert warnings delivered across campus via loudspeakers or on public display boards.

Several colleges go one step further, providing alert messages for parents/guardians, so they also are aware of potential dangers on campus. As always, make sure your student knows the emergency plans for their dorm or apartment building.

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