As part of an ongoing effort to promote emergency preparedness, 40 backpacks stuffed full with emergency supplies were handed from Wapello County Public Health to the Cardinal School District Monday afternoon.
Lynelle Diers, Director of Wapello County Public Health, worked with Josh Stevens of Wapello County Emergency Management to target emergency-related needs in the county. They found there was a gap in providing emergency supplies to schools and classrooms.
The backpacks were paid for by state funds dedicated for emergency preparedness and purchased from American Preparedness.
"Jefferson County Public Health had already done this, so they gave me the name of the company they used and I contacted them and got approval from the state to purchase these wonderful backpacks that are made for a classroom for shelter in-place," Diers said.
The Cardinal School District was chosen because they have already progressed through much emergency training, and this fulfills one need.
"It checks one of our preparedness boxes, really," Stevens said. "It's always good to have these items on hand, a lot of schools haven't been able to put them together yet or they're in the process of putting them together, so it just helps us knowing there's a resource for folks to rely on in a time of need and hopefully we can continue to do this with other schools, as well."
Each backpack comes with food and water, a emergency blanket, flashlight, a first-aid kit and more. Cardinal Secondary Principal Jeremy Hissem was on hand Monday to pick up the backpacks and deliver them to Cardinal, where they will be distributed.
"We're going to try and put at least one bag per grade level, if not per classroom, to start with and we'll see where it goes from there," Hissem said.
Each backpack is designed to support four people for three days, but in an emergency situation that a school would be likely to deal with, such as a tornado, the packs can supply a much larger amount of kids for a shorter period of time.