Dept. of Military Affairs: Student Tools for Emergency Planning program celebrates 11 years in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. – For the past 11 years, thousands of Wisconsin 4th and 5th grade students have learned how to be prepared for emergencies and disasters through the Student Tools for Emergency Planning (STEP) program. Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) is once again bringing STEP into classrooms and virtual learning environments across the state this spring, with more than 4,000 students in about 75 schools expected to participate in the program.

“The STEP program provides a valuable opportunity for students to learn about the importance of being prepared for an emergency and how they can stay safe,” said Dr. Darrell L. Williams, WEM administrator. “We are proud to be able to continue making this important educational tool available to classrooms across the state and thank educators for offering it to their students.”

Introduced in Wisconsin during the 2010-11 school year, the STEP program has been taught in hundreds of Wisconsin classrooms to more than 80,000 students. It offers teachers a curriculum developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that focuses on the different types of natural emergencies and disasters that could occur in a student’s community and what steps they can take to protect themselves.

STEP also encourages students to talk to their families about developing an emergency plan and building an emergency supply kit for their home. Students are given basic supplies to help them create their kit, including a backpack and small flashlight, provided by the state at no cost to participating schools.

“While emergencies and disasters can be unexpected and scary for children, STEP works to provide them with the tools they need to be ready to act,” Williams said. “Wisconsin is one of only a few states to have consistently offered this program for so long.”

Wisconsin educators interested in offering the STEP program to their 4th and 5th grade students can find more information at Schools interested in offering the program this spring can still request materials.

STEP is part of the state’s ReadyWisconsin campaign, which seeks to improve disaster readiness across the state. You can find more information about ReadyWisconsin at