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Rocket the red dog helps MPS students learn how to respond in emergency situations: ‘It engages kids’

MILWAUKEE -- Disasters and emergency situations can happen at any moment, and it's important your child knows how to react. The "Safety Breaks" program teaches vital skills to Milwaukee Public Schools' students.

Rocket the red dog is interactive and informative. He uses Skype to teach second-graders about fire safety at the Milwaukee "Survive Alive House." The animated dog is part of "Safety Breaks," a program that reinforces life-saving skills.

Annie Kubes

"It engages kids from a physical standpoint, fine arts standpoint and social emotional standpoint," said Annie Kubes, MPS recreation coordinator.

The curriculum, created by "The Hero In You Foundation" is geared toward emergency preparedness.

"These are lessons they can learn and use for the rest of their lives," said Bunni Benaron with The Hero In You Foundation.

The organization is teaming up with Milwaukee Public Schools to expand the program in the district.

"Along with fire safety, we are preparing children for all natural disasters including earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, in some cases even active shooter," said Benaron.

Bunni Benaron

As a former teacher, Benaron said she's confident this method works.

"We are teaching muscle memory through very memorable activities, games, music. They are learning skills without feeling like they are learning safety and can later apply this to the situations," said Benaron.

Centered around five basic rules for safety -- kids are empowered to make sound decisions that may possibly save their lives.

"It engages them with their families so they can go home and make preparations in their home -- make everybody stay safe," said Benaron.

The program is scheduled to fully launch in September in all MPS elementary schools.