Thursday, September 4, 2014

UNO-CHART Continues to Prepare Louisiana Residents for Storms with Risk Literacy Programs

UNO-CHART collaborates with literacy organizations in New Orleans and surrounding parishes to help residents prepare for storms.

Federal funding continues to help the University of New Orleans Center for Hazard Assessment, Response and Technology to prepare Louisiana residents for storms. 

UNO-CHART is an applied social science hazards research center that collaborates with Louisiana communities, including New Orleans and the surrounding parishes. The center has recently completed the second edition of a risk literacy curriculum for residents in low-lying parishes. The update was prepared using funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded through the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and will be printed with help from Phi Kappa Phi, a national honor society.

"The recent update was prepared based on feedback from adult education providers as well as students," said Monica Teets Farris, director of UNO-CHART. "The curriculum was designed in plain language to teach the concepts of risk as subject matter in literacy programs, as well as teach literacy through risk education."

Since 2004, UNO-CHART has worked with communities to reduce their numbers of repetitive flood losses, doing so through three major projects, Farris said. First, the center created a website and web-based data portal that allows residents and others access to accurate repetitive loss data including property portfolios. Second, UNO-CHART has also prepared area analyses, or flood mitigation plans, that have been shared with FEMA and local communities. Finally, the center has done outstanding work in education and outreach, she said.

The "Preparing for Storms in Louisiana" program is a collaborative effort between UNO-CHART and local literacy organizations. As part of the program, organizers create a unique storm preparedness curriculum for adult students who are learning to read and offers materials for those learning English as a Second Language, specifically those who speak Spanish as their primary language.

Written in plain language and accompanied by visual elements, the curriculum allows adults with low-level English language abilities to improve language skills while simultaneously learning how to prepare for storms, Farris said. The materials are provided free of charge to nonprofit organizations that teach adult basic education, adult primary education and English as a second language.

Now, the curriculum, "Preparing for Storms in Louisiana, 2nd Edition," has multiple parts, including a student manual, facilitator's guide, take home guide and flashcards, which post information in English on one side and in Spanish on the other. 

The facilitator's guide includes information on preparing for storms, risk mitigation and evacuation. The take home guide, written for students in both English and Spanish, includes important information for students, such as a list of supplies needed to prepare for storms, Farris said. The materials will be offered in print and can be found in digital format on UNO-CHART's website.

The new materials are partly funded by honor society Phi Kappa Phi, which announced this summer that former University of New Orleans graduate research assistant Race Hodges is one of 14 recipients nationwide of a 2014 Literacy Grant. Hodges, who graduated from UNO in May with a master's degree in urban and regional planning, devoted the $2,381 grant to UNO-CHART, so the organization could print more storm preparedness materials. 

"The grant will allow us to make our Hurricane Preparedness Guide, designed for adult literacy and ESL classes, available to more people," said Farris. "This project has been well-received throughout the metro New Orleans area and the additional copies of the guide will help us to fulfill requests we have received from multiple groups." 

 

Read More

Do you live in a low-lying parish? Here is a description and web link for each of the products in UNO-CHART's new Risk Literacy "Preparing for Storms in Louisiana, 2nd Edition," developed using FEMA funds awarded through the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. The curriculum was designed in plain language to teach the concepts of risk as subject matter in literacy programs, as well as teach literacy through risk education. The curriculum has multiple parts, including a student manual, facilitator's guide, take home guide, and flashcards.

Student Manual

The student manual is the core of the curriculum, and includes five chapters on how to prepare for storms, including information on hurricanes, preparation, evacuation, returning and protection.

Facilitator's Guide

The facilitator's guide can be used to teach the material in the student manual and take home guide, and includes 14 lesson plans with reading comprehension strategies.

Take Home Guide (English)

The take home guide is for student use in class as well as at home, so the students can study, review concepts and work on assignments.

Take Home Guide (English/Spanish)

The take home guide is for student use in class as well as at home, so the students can study, review concepts and work on assignments. The English/Spanish version includes both English and Spanish.

Flashcards

There flashcards are in Spanish on one side and in English on the other. They contain supplemental information on preparing for storms.

UNO-CHART has a limited number of hard copies available to disseminate. Please contact Tara Lambeth at tlambet1@uno.edu to request hard copies of the materials, which can also be found on the UNO-CHART Website.