Students help emergency survivors

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Meadowview Elementary second grader Allie Loflin gives Chloe, a therapy dog with the local American Red Cross chapter, a pat on the head after a recent emergency safety assembly at her school.

A local school will spend the next year collecting items that will help others cope during emergencies.

Meadowview Elementary School kicked off Operation HOSES last month by collecting tote and duffle bags to hold the items that will comfort and aid families in Bossier Parish in the event of a fire or natural disaster.

Operation HOSES, or Helping Others Survive Emergency Situations, is a collaborative effort with the LSU AgCenter Bossier Parish 4H program.

The school will accept donations from the public each month until the end of the school year. Then, they will assemble the care packages that will be given to local fire departments, who will distribute them when needed.

The following is a donation schedule at Meadowview Elementary: October – toothpaste and toothbrushes; November – shampoo, hairbrushes and old t-shirts (for adults and children); January – blankets and deodorant; February – stuffed animals; March – soft sided duffel/tote bags; April – packages of socks (adult and children sizes).

Meadowview students were also educated on what to do in the event of an emergency during a presentation by Michelle Davison from the local American Red Cross chapter and her four-legged friend.

Davison, Assistant Executive Director for the Northwest Louisiana Red Cross, spoke to students about the importance of staying calm during emergencies and also the significance of having a disaster plan ready at home and school. She also talked to students about how to react in various emergency situations, including fires, floods and tornadoes.

“One way to keep children engaged is to have them go home and share it with their family,” she said. “That allows them to get everyone involved and prepared at home.”

Davison said the most important thing she wanted students to remember is to call 9-1-1 in the case of a real emergency.

“If there’s something that scares them and there isn’t another adult around, emergency operators are the ones that will tell them it’s going to be ok and keep them calm,” she said.

Students then taught what they learned to Chloe, a four and a half year old therapy dog. The Corgie/Boston Terrier mix was delighted at how much the children knew and was rewarded with a few head rubs and hugs at the conclusion of the assembly.

Meadowview Elementary is there to lend a helping hand through a new parish-wide initiative implemented this school year by the Bossier school district. “Helping Hearts One Week At A Time” emphasizes community service that not only shows appreciation, but as the first step to making a bigger difference.

School officials say they are aligning the project with the quote, “it’s good to be blessed, but it’s better to be a blessing.”

For more information, visit www.bossierschools.org