State encourages educators everywhere to take a look

The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety (DFS) encourages educators statewide to support a public safety initiative for educators that is being conducted in remote learning districts in Princeton Borough in Mercer County. The program informs educators about fire safety, cyber safety, mental health and child abuse.

The initiative came as a result of Princeton Fire Marshal Peggy Brookes’ personal experience during a virtual Zoom learning session involving her son where she could hear the beeping sound of a low battery on a smoke detector. As a firefighter and fire marshal, Brookes’ immediately contacted the teacher through the Zoom chat. The teacher heard the sound as well and was able to reach out to the family to solve the problem of the beeping smoke detector.

The teacher later contacted Brookes to ask what else she should look for since educators have a different view into their students’ homes. As a result, the Remote Learning Safety Package for Educators was created. You can find the package here.

In addition to safety information about smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, and cooking, the Remote Learning Safety Package also includes the following helpful tips:

  • Cyber Safety  Secure hardware and implement password safety.
  • Mental Health – Watch for drastic changes in behavior, changes in a child’s appearance or withdrawn behaviors, which can be indications of abuse or mental health concerns.
  • Child Abuse – Look out for any form of abuse (i.e. domestic violence, child abuse, bruises, cuts, marks or disclosures). Any of these signs are a cause for immediate concern and should be reported to 1-877-NJABUSE (652-2873). If you are not sure that the concern rises to the level of a report, the hotline is available to you 24/7 to simply ask the question.

In addition to the packet, the state recommends reviewing the following information, with links to each found at the NJ Department of Community Affairs website:

  • #BridgeTheGap graphic for Educators and Healthcare Worker.
  • #BridgeTheGap graphic for Educators, Social Workers, School Nurses and Guidance Counselors.
  • QR Code to embed in lesson plans, Zoom Backgrounds, etc. that links to a hotlines graphic for teens and youth to reach out for help.
  • Children’s Mental Health One-Sheet.
  • Teen Mental Health Graphic.
  • Mental Health Tips for the Minority Community.
  • GBTQIA Youth Mental Health Resources.
  • Managing Stress and Anxiety in Youth.

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