Red Cross teaches IJ Holton students about being ready for disasters

Published 8:40 am Thursday, October 25, 2018

IJ Holton Intermediate School students got a chance to learn more about the importance of being prepared in case of an emergency or disaster during class on Wednesday morning.

About 30 students sat during class while listening to Deedee Marx, an instructor in a youth disaster education program called “the Pillowcase Project” which involves giving pillowcases to students as a tool to teach them about disaster preparedness.

Marx, also a retired teacher from the Austin Public Schools district, taught 596 students last year about the importance of being ready in case of an emergency such as flooding, house fires and more. With 20 years of experience responding to disasters for the Red Cross, she also comes with firsthand knowledge of what it takes for the general public to learn more about disaster readiness.

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“The Red Cross is there to help people,” Marx added.

Rochelle Igou, an IJ Holton Intermediate School paraprofessional, recounts a house fire in 2010 that destroyed her home with sixth grade students about disaster planning. Her two sons were inside at the time and had managed to escape quickly because of a plan. Hannah Yang/hannah.yang

Planning can save lives

The words that Marx shared with sixth graders regarding the importance of having a plan resounded with Rochelle Igou, a paraprofessional, during the presentation.

In 2010, a house fire broke out at home with Igou’s two sons inside at the time of the incident.

They were home alone, and because their parents had gone over an emergency plan with them, the two children were able to escape alive from the fire that claimed their house.

Among one of the first groups that Igou remembered helping them, aside from the firefighters and police officers, was the Red Cross, which handed them handmade quilts and a stuffed animal for one of her children.

“My house burned down, but my kids were able to get out quickly,” she said. “It’s not something to put off to the side. It’s something you need to definitely practice, and get out in two minutes. They lost their two guinea pigs, but they were alive. They got out safely and the Red Cross comforted us during that time.”