Twelve-year-old Nicole Schaarschmidt possesses a sense of civic duty unusual in one so young. For her Girl Scout Silver Project, the 7th grade student at St. Raymond Catholic School in Dublin, California decided to help her school improve its level of emergency preparedness. The school ought to be well prepared, Nicole reasoned, as it was located barely a stone’s throw from the Calaveras Fault, a major branch of the San Andreas Fault system.
Working with school administrators and an emergency preparedness team from a local hospital, Nicole encouraged teachers and students to participate in the Great California Shakeout, a statewide preparedness event. They reviewed preparedness plans, checked stockpiles of emergency supplies and conducted earthquake drills. Nicole visited classrooms to talk about disaster readiness and even developed a system of color coded cards that teachers could use in an emergency to instantly let administrators know the state of their classrooms.
“A green card means everyone’s okay, an orange card means there are minor injuries like cuts or scrapes, a red card means there’s a really big injury or a child is missing,” Nicole explains.
Nicole extended her preparedness crusade to her parish church and also manned an information booth at fairs conducted by her church and other community groups where she handed out preparedness information (in English and Spanish) and sold survival kits from More Prepared.
“My mom found the More Prepared website, and we thought it was a good thing to tell people about,” Nicole says. “It’s a great place to buy emergency supplies.” More Prepared returned 10-percent of the proceeds of sales to St. Raymond Catholic School.
Nicole has not experienced an earthquake firsthand, but a tornado once touched down near her home when her family was living in Indiana. Her Silver Project helped Nicole understand how important it is to be ready for such emergencies. “I learned a lot about the best ways to stay safe.”