Ready or Not

emergency preparation

How to use this program  

Thank you for taking the time to educate your students and their families about emergency preparation. We want you to know that participating in this program and using its supplementary materials is easy and integrates seamlessly with national and regional educational standards and classroom curricula.

This teacher toolkit has lessons and activities that emphasize the 21st Century Education Skills – Collaboration, Communication, Creativity and Critical Thinking. Along with suggested grade levels, the purpose of each activity and cognitive level of thinking, these allow you to tailor your instruction to meet the needs and abilities of your entire class.

Before the Performance  

  • Watch the Educator Preview Video.
  • Start a K-W-L (Know-Wonder-Learn) exercise with your students.
  • Review the student playbook to identify the appropriate leveled activities for your class.

Day of the Performance

  • Watch the Student Preview Video with your students.
  • Continue the K-W-L exercise with your students. What do you know about the subject matter we are about to see? What do you want to know?
  • Attend the live performance scheduled for your class.

After the Performance  

  • Watch the Post-Performance Video with your students.
  • Conclude your K-W-L by asking the students what they learned from the performance.
  • Use the student playbooks and share the additional lessons and expanded information.
  • Use the other games and activities located here.
  • Evaluate the program by clicking on the Hey,Teachers! icon and entering the code you received from the actors.
  • Complete the program evaluation for your chance to win $250 for your classroom.

Educational Standards  

Find the related state and Next Generation Science Standards here.

Ready or Not Educational Standards

Words to Know

Hover over the image to reveal the definition.

An event that requires many emergency responders and other professionals to handle it

An event that requires emergency responders and can’t be handled by just one person.

A box that has supplies necessary to help a family survive in an emergency situation for a few days

A plan of what a family will do in case of an emergency and how everyone can stay in touch if they are separated

The first people to help out in an emergency

A source of danger that may lead to an emergency or disaster

The place in the neighborhood that a family will meet in case they need to leave the house quickly

A way to practice what to do to stay safe in an emergency

Lesson 1: Disasters – Hot Off the Press

Ready or Not


Students will learn how to write attention-grabbing headlines


Newspaper articles and internet news printouts
Books about disasters
Pencil or pen

Purpose of Activity

Apply Skills, Identify Details, Read or Listen, Communication, Collaboration, Creativity

Cognitive Level

Skills and Concepts, Extended Thinking

Class Time

1 hour


Give each group of students a set of newspaper articles or printouts from the Internet. Ask them to choose an article they would like to read. After they have read it, ask why they chose that article. Was it the headline? Have students spend some time creating headlines together. Review as a class.

Ask students to choose a book that focuses on some disaster or emergency. Allocate time for students to read their books in class or as a homework assignment.

Have students write an article based on what they learned. Instruct them to choose a key point, event or topic. Ask students to include the following components in their articles:

  • An attention-grabbing headline
  • What the book is about
  • Who the main character is
  • What kind of emergency is outlined in the book
  • What you would do if you were stuck in that type of emergency

Once all students have gone through at least one editing and revision phase and have final drafts, compile all the articles into a class-wide newspaper that can be distributed to everyone in the class, the school or via a class/parent newsletter or website.

Lesson 2: Mapping Meeting Places

Ready or Not


They will draft and finalize aerial maps of their home and their neighborhood; they will also plan chart evacuation routes on their maps and show their maps to their families.


Drawing Paper

Purpose of Activity

Apply Skills, Identify Details, Read or Listen, Creativity

Cognitive Level

Skills and Concepts, Strategic Thinking

Class Time

1 hour


Instruct students to collect important information about their homes and neighborhoods. The important information would be where the family plans to meet outside the home and another spot to meet outside the neighborhood, if the need arises. They should also map an evacuation route out of their house.

Have them then begin a draft of their two meeting places. Students will work on finalizing their drafts by drawing their maps and gluing on labels that read “My Home,” “Outside Meeting Place,” “Out-of-Neighborhood Meeting Place” and “My Evacuation Route.” They should also add a title and legend to their maps. Students should work independently on their assignment. Once they receive teacher approval, allow students to use permanent pens or markers to finalize their maps.


Information to Share

Family Communication Plan

It’s important to plan for how family members will communicate and reconnect if an emergency or a disaster occurs in their community. To help your family prepare, you can make a Family Communication Plan. The first step is to collect contact information for every member of your household. This information will help you get in touch with each other if there is an emergency. Then identify a person who lives outside of the area whom you can all text or call to help you reconnect. Keep in mind, you might not be in the same place as the rest of your family when a disaster or emergency occurs.

Decide where your family will meet after a disaster, in case there is a fire or other emergency and you need to leave your home. The meeting place could be a big tree, a mailbox at the end of the driveway or a neighbor’s house.

Decide where your family will meet if a disaster happens when you’re not at home and you can’t get back to your home. This could be a library, community center, house of worship or family friend’s home.

You should also include other important information and phone numbers on your Family Communication Plan. Examples of important information are any allergies or medications. Examples of other important phone numbers are your doctor’s office or your pet’s veterinarian.

Make sure all family members keep a copy of their Family Communication Plan in their backpack, purse or wallet. You should also hang a copy on the refrigerator, along with emergency phone numbers for police, fire and poison control.

Having a Family Communication Plan can give all the members of your family peace of mind if a disaster occurs, so make yours today!


Information to Share

In some situations, the safest place to be is at home. But, because disasters can cause power and water outages, you may not have electricity for your lights, refrigerator, stove or air conditioning. You may not be able to get any water from the tap. Disasters can also interrupt transportation, which means you may not be able to go to a store for food or water. In other disasters, the safest option is to leave your home and get outside of the area. This is called evacuating.

A Disaster Supplies Checklist shows a list of items that are in many homes. Think about what your family would need if you had to stay inside your home for a week or more without power or running water. Think about family members, pets and service animals that might need special food, extra water or other special items.

Next, consider which of these items you would need to take with you if you had to evacuate. These are the items you should keep in a “go bag” – a bag you can carry easily. Keep your go bag in a place where you can easily grab it if you have to leave quickly.

Use this partial list to assemble a Disaster Supply Kit and go bag with your family. Remember to check your supplies periodically and keep them up-to-date.


Family emergency communication plan
Cell phone
Hand-crank radio

Medical Needs

Prescription and nonprescription medicines
First aid kit

Important Documents

Copies of the following: photo identification for all family members, passports and birth certificates
Insurance policies
Proof of address
Bank account records
Medical records

Food and Water

Store at least one gallon per person per day for at least three days
Method to purify water (bleach, purification tablets or purification kit)
Nonperishable or canned food for at least three days
Non-electric can opener
Paper cups, plates or plastic utensils

Hygiene and Sanitation

Plastic garbage bags
Soap, disinfectant and sanitizer
Paper towels and moist towelettes
Toilet paper
Feminine needs
Toothbrush and toothpaste

Clothing and Bedding

Extra clothes
Sturdy shoes, dust mask, safety glasses and work gloves
Rain gear
Blanket or sleeping bag

Tools and Functional Items

Flashlight (hand-crank or with extra batteries)
Smoke detector
Fire extinguisher
USB car charger and DC/AC adapter
Wrench, pliers, multipurpose tool and scissors
Matches in waterproof container or lighter
Plastic sheeting, duct tape
Local map
Permanent marker, pens and paper
Pet carrier and leash

Special and Priceless Items

Playing cards, book, puzzle or game
Favorite stuffed toy
Photo albums and pictures