I recently read about two interesting examples of programs aimed at training teenagers in emergency preparedness — the St. Charles (Missouri) County Teen CERT program and Operation Safeguard Academy, a week-long readiness camp in Indianapolis.
The St. Charles County Citizen Corps website describes its educational program for teens:
Four Boy Scout and two Girl Scout troops participated in the emergency preparedness and response training at Indian Camp Creek Park in northern St. Charles County. The specialized training provided students the skills necessary to perform under pressure by developing multi-functional response teams that supplement community emergency services during major disasters. The St. Charles County Teen Community Emergency Response Team (TEEN CERT) program is made up entirely of volunteer citizens and is more than 230 members strong.
While many people will respond to others in need without any training, one goal of the TEEN CERT program is to help these citizens do so effectively and efficiently without placing themselves or others in unnecessary danger. With the mandatory 20-hours of training, students learn to manage utilities and put out small fires, and treat the three medical killers by opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating for shock. TEEN CERT also trains students how to provide basic medical aid, search for and rescue victims safely, organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective, and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts…
In Indianapolis, at the Operation Safeguard Academy, according to the IndyStar.com:
…the 46 participants — ages 12 to 18, representing 17 area schools — are learning about survival, medical training, terrorism awareness and fire control. One of their main objectives is to take care of younger children in disaster situations, when parents might be overwhelmed with larger problems.
The camp, a collaboration involving Park Tudor School, Ball State University, Marion County Emergency Management and others, is meant to make the teens not only better responders, Fletcher said, but better leaders.
“They act as the catalyst for their families,” she said. “Most of us have had a child who goes home and says, ‘We had someone from the fire department come. We have to do a fire safety drill.’ . . . There’s nothing like a kid to put pressure on you to make something happen.”
Teenagers train as part of Operation Safeguard Academy