California’s Next Emergency Managers are Homegrown: Cal OES Shows 700 Students How to Prepare for Any Disaster


group of students watch sit on a blacktop watching two Cal O E S representatives in front of a Cal O E S table and pop up tent.

Cal OES Emergency Services Coordinator Vanessa Vazquez and Senior Emergency Services Coordinator Danielle Chapman teach students how to pack a go-bag ahead of a disaster.

NATOMAS, CA.– Students everywhere hear summer vacation calling, but for some, learning doesn’t take a break, at least when it comes to disasters and emergencies. The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) taught 700 transitional kindergarten through fifth grade students how to properly prepare for a disaster today at Twin Rivers Elementary School.

Cal OES Emergency Services Coordinator Vanessa Vazquez and Senior Emergency Services Coordinator Danielle Chapman taught students about the information to give 9-1-1 dispatchers when calling for help, how to build a “go-bag” with essential items in case of an emergency, and how to encourage their family, friends, and neighbors to make an emergency plan.

“It was a fantastic event. I believe that teaching 9-1-1 preparedness gives students the tools to know how to respond in any emergency,” said Vazquez. “One of the highlights was witnessing the students engage with each other and share their insights on natural disasters.”

The preparedness lessons come straight out of Cal OES’s Preparedness Ambassadors Program, a classroom curriculum designed to engage fourth grade students in disaster preparedness for their homes, schools, and local communities –the first program of its kind in California. It was developed in partnership with the California Department of Education, CalRecycle, and the Sacramento County Office of Education.

To date, the Preparedness Ambassadors Program has served 50 schools in 26 districts throughout the state.

“These types of events are what will stick out in their minds for years to come. You’re helping the kiddos be self-aware and more prepared in the event of a disaster by simply having the discussion with them in a fun, interactive way,” said Chapman. “These conversations will continue after the school day is over and they’ll hopefully be able to talk about what they learned with their parents/guardians.”

Cal OES’s Planning, Preparedness, and Prevention team works together with educational institutions to help students and educators understand the unique hazards we face in California, and how to prepare for them. The team also oversees the state’s emergency plans using a whole community approach through education and outreach with local, state, and federal governments, tribes, business, private sectors, and members of the public.

To learn more about planning and preparedness curriculum and resources available to schools and educators, please visit Cal OES’s School Emergency Planning and Safety website or email