The Center for Regional and National Security (CeRNS) at Eastern Michigan University initiated a grant funded pilot project from Michigan Citizen Corp to develop, validate and initiate an education program targeting high school students teaching Disaster Preparedness and Response. The Teen Community Emergency Response Team (Teen CERT) Program educates students about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, Teen CERT members can assist others in their schools, neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. Teen CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.
Training in disaster response should not be a one-time event. Awareness, commitment, and skills must be reinforced through follow-up training and repeated practice to maintain the edge necessary for effective response in the face of a disaster. Tomaintain your skill level and continually improve performance, you and your classmates should participate in continuing supplemental training when offered in your area. Working through practice disaster scenarios with other citizens will provide opportunities not only for extended practice, but for valuable networking with citizens in the local area.