LA CROSSE, Wis. -

Local 6th graders are learning how to be prepared in the case of an emergency.

It's part of the S.T.E.P. program or Student Tools for Emergency Planning. It teaches students to have a plan in the event of disasters and emergencies. It also helps them develop emergency kits that include things like flashlights, first aid, food, and cell phones.

Both organizers and the students say it helps to teach kids when they are young. "Younger kids, they probably would, something would happen and they wouldn't exactly know what to do, they'd kind of freak out, and this will probably help them," said 6th grader Peyton Steele.

"The students can go home and be that vehicle to start a conversation with their parents and maybe their moms and dads or grandparents hadn't really thought about this before, and now the students can go home and say look in class today we started talking about preparedness, emergencies, disasters, what would we like to have in our kit," said State Senator Jennifer Shilling.

The program expanded this year to reach nearly 10,000 students statewide thanks to a grant from AT&T as well as the donation of 6,000 first aid kits from Walgreens.