Emergency Preparedness at Wedgwood: Keeping Kids Safe and Comforted, Giving Families Peace of Mind

by Holly Sommer

It’s a worst-case-scenario no family wants to think about: an earthquake, fire or other shelter-in-place situation occurring while your child is at school. But the difference between me and the Emergency Preparedness Team at Wedgwood is that I cross my fingers and hope it won’t happen, and this nimble crew puts a plan into action.

Wedgwood parents Matt Cook, Katie Morse and Julie Nimmergut found themselves drawn together over a shared interest in safety at Wedgwood. Julie is her neighborhood coordinator for emergency preparedness, Matt is the Facilities Chair for the PTA and builder by trade, and Katie had questions about earthquake readiness at the school. Together, they worked with the PTA and administration at Wedgwood to determine what already existed (spoiler alert: not much), what needed to be purchased, and how to organize and store this large amount of supplies at the school. Their list of to-dos ranged from providing each classroom with a supply of water to filling a large storage container (located in the lower parking lot by the kindergarten classrooms) with enough emergency supplies to last three days, to the item that was sent home early in the school year: comfort kits for each child.

Comfort kits have become commonplace in schools and daycares in our district and across the country. While supplies of water, food, flashlights and tools such as crowbars are tangible items that are necessary in an emergency (and are currently located in each classroom), we all want to know our kids have some measure of comfort when they are away from home in an uncertain and potentially stressful situation. If you’re anything like me, considering why I am putting together a comfort kit isn’t fun; of course I want my kids with me in an emergency. But if the worst case scenario happens, it’s also comforting to know my kids have items like a favorite snack, family photo and a letter from home.

Holly Sommer is a Wedgwood mom and serves on the Wedgwood PTA Board as manager of communications.