‘Ready Girl’ Offers Lesson in Engaging Youth on Disaster Preparedness

Image: NYC OEM

Ready New York’s Katelyn James created Ready Girl, a superhero that is super prepared and engaging youth on what they need to know in an emergency.

Public safety agencies increase safety when they engage their communities. Emergency planners can help spread their preparedness message by identifying captive audiences, advice offered by one expert.

The desired impact of having people go out in public is two-fold: Physical presence provides a sense of urgency and importance that is difficult to attain,” according to Robert Avsec, a former Battalion Chief for Chesterfield, Virginia, Fire & EMS.

Ready Girl is a comic book hero and a real emergency planner with the New York City Emergency Management Department (NYC OEM) who does just that. The superhero persona teaches kids about how to stay safe and prepare for disasters with emergency plans and Go Bags.

Ready Girl, aka Katelyn James, is the youth outreach coordinator for Ready New York. After watching police officers and firefighters present to children at schools, she realized that her youth engagement program could do something more appealing to engage the students, and that’s when she created Ready Girl.

In addition to appearing alongside the Avengers in a real Marvel comic book, Ready Girl teaches kids about what to do in an emergency, like a storm or flood, as part of Ready New York. She brings the preparedness message to schools, like the Paul Klapper School in Flushing, Queens.

In 2018, the NYC OEM and the New York City Department of Education awarded the Ready School of the Year Award to the school’s students and staff.

“If we educate our children at a young age and they share their wealth of knowledge with their friends and family, they will be prepared,” said Sue Greenberg, special events coordinator and special education teacher.

James’s goal as Ready Girl is to inspire youth to be prepared. While teaching kids about preparing a Go Bag is priority for James, she also encourages kids to think about family plans.

What makes her awesome is she is always prepared,” said one city student.

Ready Girl has a blog and makes public appearances to spread the preparedness message with adults too, such as at ComicCon in 2016. Recently on a NYC OEM PrepTalk podcast, she promoted the agency’s Resolve to Be Ready calendar of tips to make it easy for busy adults to prepare for emergencies.

Listen here:

Access the Ready Girl blog and learn more.

Read our previous youth preparedness coverage:

FEMA Awards MyPI Youth Preparedness Program

About the author

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox

Andrea Fox is Editor of EfficientGov.com and Senior Editor at Lexipol. She is based in Massachusetts.