Who you gonna call when the next hurricane or superstorm hits? For children in New York City, the answer is Ready Girl and Marvel superheroes The Avengers.
Together with Marvel Custom Solutions, NYC Emergency Management introduced Thursday a new custom comic book aimed at teaching kids about knowing what to do when severe weather hits their communities– especially with hurricane season creeping up next month.
The comic — called "Against The Wind" — features Ready Girl, an emergency preparedness superhero introduced last October by NYC Emergency Management, working together with Marvel’s The Avengers to take on an incoming tropical storm that could bring hurricane force winds and heavy rain.
According to the city, Ready Girl realized she had superpowers for emergencies during Hurricane Sandy – which devastated large parts of the city -- when she saved her family from heavy winds and rising water.
“The Avengers were formed when a group of Marvel’s heroes came together to combat a threat too dire for any one of them to handle alone,” said Mark Basso, editor of the custom Avengers comic featuring Ready Girl. “In that same spirit, we’re proud to team up with NYC Emergency Management to help communicate this important message to kids by entertaining them with an action-packed adventure story while passing along these crucial lessons.”
After getting wind of the incoming storm in the comic, Ready Girl reaches out to kids hanging out in a nearby playground and warns them of the danger. She then advises the children to get ready, get set and get ready to go.
And although the heroes defeat Whirlwind — a villain who represents the incoming “force of nature” — the comic ends with a question if there is more for the heroes to battle.
To launch the comic book, Ready Girl — along with Iron Man — visited P.S. 39 in Brooklyn where she showed third-graders what they should know about the city’s six evacuation zones.
Since her debut last year, the emergency superhero has been visiting dozens of schools, community centers and organizations across the five boroughs.
As part of her message, Ready Girl tells children how important it is to make a plan that involves having at least two phone numbers — a local and out-of-state one — that they can call in case of an emergency. Children are urged to practice the plan with adults in their homes.
After making a plan, children are told to prepare a stay-at-home kit, which includes having extra food and water, and a battery-operated radio to listen for news updates.
Finally, Ready Girl encourages kids to pack a “go bag” with emergency supplies, which during an emergency, can be grabbed in a hurry.
“This project is a creative way to get kids excited about preparedness,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “If we can engage them from an early age, the hope is that they can use this information throughout their lives."