Youth and Adult Disaster Preparedness Training
Involving youth in disaster planning and recovery increases their awareness of hazardous situations that may occur, as well as teaches them how to respond to various types of emergencies.
Involving youth in disaster planning and recovery will increase their awareness of hazardous situations that may occur, as well as teach them how to respond to various types of emergencies.
Youth who have participated in the Mid America TEEN CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) program and various other risk reduction programs, demonstrate a greater knowledge and understanding of disaster issues and preparedness. Children also actively promote a better readiness in their communities, school surroundings and home environment. By involving youth in disaster planning well in advance of an emergency situation, they will be better equipped to respond appropriately and calmly when confronted with an actual event.
Children under the age of 18 in the United States is at an all-time high of 74.2 million and make up nearly 24 percent of the total U.S. population. Several challenges such as being separated from their parents, or being too young to drive a vehicle may confront youth during an emergency. Youth are extremely resilient and can contribute ideas and actions during a disaster.
The Mid America TEEN CERT program, based in western St. Charles County, Missouri, recognizes the importance of directing emergency preparedness training to both youth and adults. Parents and their children should take the training together to make sure that reunification plans are in place, and to provide support to help youth cope during and after an emergency situation. Family plans need to be prepared, practiced, and ready to support the needs of children. Youth can experience stress when they don't understand dangerous experiences and parents can identify their children's fear of disasters.
Mid America TEEN CERT teaches between 6-8 classes annually, or roughly 200 students. Their next class scheduled in mid-May at the Wentzville Fire Protection District, is training upwards of 80 students. Many of the CERT programs in and around the St. Louis and St. Charles County, Missouri regions have been seeing a decline in student enrollment, participation and classes.
The basic goal of the training is to make children, families, and communities less vulnerable, and more resilient and safe. It is important that communities and schools take specific actions to improve preparedness, response, and recovery for children. Unfortunately, politics and adequate funding play a crucial role in the lack of youth preparedness.
Involving youth in a volunteer program such as TEEN CERT and helping others can give children a sense of control and security and promote a positive outlook and helping behavior. Learning about emergency preparation as a family is important so that everyone knows what to do in an emergency. Include the entire family in preparation activities, such as building a family emergency kit. Children can feel reassured knowing there's a plan in place.
Youth at all ages can be trained about emergencies, and what to do if an emergency situation arises. Most emergency situations can be handled when a child has an action plan to use, and knowing what to do can make a huge difference in an emergency. For instance, an important part of preparedness training is to create a sense of serenity and responsible behavior to encourage logical and practical thinking. With repeated practice of an emergency plan, youth, as well as adults, will know what they need to do, where they are to meet up, and any other action that is important for the situation to stay out of harm's way.
Children enjoy being part of a team and adults should assign them duties that make them feel included. Lastly, practice your plan and drills – youth and adults do best with repeated practice.
For more information about Mid America TEEN CERT or youth preparedness in general, contact Mark Rosenblum at mark.rosenblum@
Mid America TEEN CERT [MATC] is currently recognized as the top Emergency Preparedness Program and Youth Program in Missouri, and best Emergency Preparedness Training Program and Outstanding Youth Training Program in America.