Fourth graders are learning what needs to be done to prepare for an emergency.

For the second year, the Aroostook County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) has been working with Dr. ValerieAnn Waldemarson and the students of Jobs for Maine Graduates (JMG) to teach the Student Tools for Emergency Planning (STEP) program.

ValerieAnn Waldemarson

Once a week for 7 weeks JMG students spend time in the classroom with 4th graders discussing hazards in the area and how they can be prepared for them at home.  In addition to emergency preparedness, students develop relationships that allow for leadership opportunities in and out of school. The program wraps up with the creation of a disaster “go-kit” that they can keep and take home to discuss with their parents.

County EMA Director Darren Woods stated that he could not do these classes without the help of Dr. Waldemarson and her students.  "We believe that the efforts they put into this will have positive results for years to come.”

ValerieAnn Waldemarson

The program gets the information to the students in school while, at the same time, allowing the JMG students an opportunity to learn it themselves and practice public speaking.

Aroostook EMA is also looking to expand this program into other schools, and they encourage school officials to contact them to discuss how it could work in their system. Information can also be found on the Aroostook County Emergency Management Facebook Pages or their website at