TEEN CERT Introduction
The teaching and the training of our youth will have a tremendous impact on how well we mitigate, prepare, respond to, and recover from technical and natural disasters both today and in the years to come.
- Schools are part of this nation’s critical infrastructure
- School populations can overwhelm a cities capability to respond effectively with the needed first responder resources
- School faculty and staff are not adequately qualified to respond to natural or manmade disasters
- Students lack the proper education on how to prepare for and respond to a school emergency or disaster
- Disaster preparedness information that is learned in school will be enacted in the homes of the students
The Teen Community Emergency Response Team (Teen CERT) concept was identified as a measure to address preparedness and response capabilities from within the school to support professional first responders with an educated/trained student body.
Rationale for the TEEN CERT Program
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has identified schools as part of the critical infrastructure of the country. While many school safety initiatives have been funded to provide for site security analysis and safety equipment, less effort has gone into training staff and students in school security procedures and emergency response to incidents occurring in the schools. Furthermore, little attention has been given to involving youth in the country’s overall emergency preparedness and response endeavor.
The purpose of the TEEN CERT program is to train students in emergency preparedness and response to ensure students have the skills needed to protect themselves, and assist others, in the event of an emergency. In addition, students are likely to bring lessons learned in the classroom home, thereby spreading the preparedness message to the entire family. Consider the fire program for Stop-Drop-and-Roll as an example. In this program, students were encouraged to go home, assess their homes for fire safety, and develop evacuation plans. Ask parents of a school-age child, and they will be able to tell you where they learned this philosophy and how it has made their homes safer.