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AbledKids post banner shows screen grabs from the Sesame Street App on Emergency preparedness. The headline reads: Sesame Street Apps help kids deal with disasters.

When Disaster Strikes, Kids Can Turn To Elmo

Breaking News on TV seems to follow an annual cycle of seasonally-associated natural disasters that can stem from hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, flooding and more. Not to mention, unexpected disasters such as earthquakes, terrorist  attacks, viral outbreaks like Ebola and a host of other threats.

As frightening as these events can be for grown-ups, they’re even more terrifying for children, and a lot of parents get bombarded with questions, or try to ignore that these threats exist so as not to upset their kids.

In fact, the folks at Sesame Workshop, the collective non-profit behind Sesame Street, has found that the latter may be the truest gauge of how ill-prepared most families are to deal with unexpected emergencies. They cite a recent study that shows 60 percent of families don’t have an emergency plan.

To help remedy this, Sesame Workshop has partnered with PSEG (the Public Service Enterprise Group) to produce two smartphone and tablet apps called ‘Let’s Get Ready‘ and ‘Here For Each Other’.  The first teaches kids what they should now if an emergency strikes, such as the names of their parents and where they live. The second teaches parents how to talk with their kids about disaster situations  and answer questions that could come up in the middle of an emergency.

PSEG’s President and Chief Operating Officer, Ralph LaRossa says partnering with Sesame Workshop is a natural extension of  PSEG values in educating people on how to be prepared in unexpected situations. As he puts it, “Utility folks will keep the lights on, we’ll keep the house warm, but it’s really all about communicating with children and their families and that’s what Sesame Street means for us.”

Sesame Workshop’s Senior Vice-President of Community and Family Engagement, Jeanette Betancourt, says, “When we start these planning moments and learning this critical information early on, it becomes part of children’s resiliency to growing up kinder, smarter and stronger. It really is valuable to start early, not only as a child, but as an entire family”.

You can click on the names of ‘Let’s Get Ready‘  (en Español) and ‘Here For Each Other‘ (en Español) to find them online as part of  the Toolkits section of Sesame Street’s website. You can find the ‘Let’s Get Ready’ app at iTunes  for the iOS version, and at Google Play for the Android version.

Sesame Workshop has also crafted other Toolkits to help families and children cope other issues like Divorce or when someone in a family has been jailed , is diagnosed with a serious illness, or has died. They’ve even prepared a toolkit for the unique issues military families face.

(Sources: Sesame Workshop | NBCNews)

AbledKids photo shows the sesame street logo above a graphical representation of a checklist and a flashlight.
AbledKids photo shows another screen grab from the Sesame Street Emergency Preparedness Kit called Let's Get Ready , that includes instructions of how to prepare a family emergency kit and checklist. Click here to go to the app's iTunes page.
AbledKids photo shows another screen grab from the Sesame Street Emergency Preparedness Kit app that shows a fireman and policewoman drawn as Muppet characters standing in front of bushes and a grassy lawn with a police station, fire hall and hospital with their respective vehicles in the background. Click here to go to the Android app page for 'Let's Get Ready' at Google Play.
AbledKids photo shows another screen grab from Sesame Street's iOS app for children called 'Let's Get Ready'. This panel shows a microphone icon on a wavy musical stanza surrounding by different colored notes with the title: 'Grown-up's First Name!', while the instruction at the bottom of the frame says 'Learn and record important names.
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