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James Lee Witt and The Hero In You Foundation Share How to Be Prepared for National Safety Month

Former FEMA director turns eye toward youth emergency preparedness with Foundation's "R. Hero Rules for Safety" program

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwired - June 19, 2017) - In recognition of National Safety Month, former FEMA director James Lee Witt is partnering with youth-focused non-profit The Hero In You Foundation to share top safety tips for children in case of an emergency. Witt recommends that parents, educators and community leaders review the Foundation's recently released "R. Hero Rules for Safety" program, which teaches young children what to do in any emergency situation. The "R. Hero Rules for Safety" program has been utilized by the American Red Cross and Los Angeles Public Library, among others.

"The 'R. Hero Rules for Safety' provide an excellent foundation for youth first learning about emergencies and how to keep themselves safe," said Witt. "It's important that families start these conversations early, and this program provides a fun and memorable way to introduce emergency preparedness to our nation's most vulnerable."

Witt is best known for turning FEMA into an internationally acclaimed all-hazards disaster management agency. As FEMA Director from 1993-2001, and later on as a consultant, Witt coordinated federal disaster response and recovery on behalf of the White House and oversaw more than 350 disasters, some of which were the most devastating disasters in U.S. history, including being hired by Louisiana Governor Blanco to oversee reconstruction efforts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The "R. Hero Rules for Safety" can be found on The Hero In You Foundation's website, as below:

1. Be Prepared - Parents, educators and community leaders should review the "R.Hero Rules for Safety" and discuss the importance of being prepared for emergency situations. This includes developing a safety plan, practicing that plan twice a year and building emergency safety kits.
2. Stay Calm - In practicing your emergency safety plan and having children visit a local fire station for a meet and greet, you can help your child stay calm should an emergency situation arise.
3. Follow the Plan - Make sure kids know where to locate their emergency safety kit and discuss back up plans in case the primary exit is blocked. It's important that children understand not to worry about grabbing anything else when there's an emergency -- the most important thing is to follow the plan and get to the safe zone.
4. Stay in Your Safe Zone - Reinforce the importance of children staying in their safe zone until parents or a first responder come and get them. Wandering away from the safe zone could result in further danger and make it harder for parents or first responders to find them.
5. Call for Help - Be sure your child knows how to call for help. They can yell or use a whistle to attract the attention of an adult and should understand how to dial 911. Just as important as dialing 911, practice scenarios with your child so they know what to say when the 911 operator answers -- providing their name, address, and a description of where they are and what is happening.

"As a former elementary school teacher, I have a personal passion in keeping our children safe, but noticed that most emergency preparedness programs are catered to adults," said Bunni Benaron, Founder of The Hero In You Foundation. "With the 'R. Hero Rules for Safety,' we set out to create a program that could introduce a challenging topic to young children, while honoring the work of all first responders."

In the "R. Hero Rules for Safety," an animated Dalmatian puppy named Rocket teaches children five simple rules they can apply in any emergency scenario, with an accompanying sing-along to help kids remember the tips all year long. Bonus episodes on specific emergencies, including dangerous intruders, earthquakes and house fires, are continuously being released for further learning opportunities. The Foundation offers coloring books and other supplementary materials to interested teachers, organizations and local governments, free of charge, to assist in the implementation of the program. A Skype call with Rocket is also available for organizations and youth groups, which offers a truly unique interactive experience between the audience and the animated character.

For more information about The Hero In You Foundation, visit TheHeroInYouFoundation.Org

About The Hero In You Foundation
Bunni and Rick Benaron founded The Hero In You Foundation, which seeks to educate youth through emergency preparedness and honor the first responders that help keep us safe. The Benarons provide financial support for The Hero In You Foundation and are the leaders in building out robust R. Hero programs including the "R. Hero Rules for Safety" educational program, where children can learn what to do in an emergency through an online, animated video series featuring Rocket, accompanying coloring books and an interactive Skype program. The R. Hero children's book series, and six-foot tall R. Hero sculptures further reinforce the need to educate youth and honor first responders, with 30 unique "R. Hero" sculptures across 16 states, including international placements in Israel and El Salvador, at fire stations, children's hospitals, libraries, parks and children's museums. With these installations, children and their parents, caregivers and teachers have a visual reminder and conversation starter about the traits of a hero -- respect, honor, bravery and compassion for others.

For more information about The Hero In You Foundation and the R. Hero Rules for Safety program, visit TheHeroInYouFoundation.org, or follow the Foundation on Twitter @TheHeroInYouFdn or on Facebook at Facebook.com/TheHeroInYouFoundation.

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