By Marva Brooks, MSN, RN, Program Coordinator, Henry Ford Early College, Dearborn Heights, MI
Every fall the HFEC 10th graders participate in the Department of Homeland Security and Citizen Corps Teen Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) course, commonly referred to as CERT. This program is a national initiative directed at making our schools and communities safer by having education-trained youth capable of preparing and responding to disasters and emergencies. The TEEN CERT training program prepares students to help themselves, their families, and their school in the event of a disaster. TEEN CERT training provides students with the skills to help emergency responders save lives and protect property. The TEEN CERT training takes about 20 hours to complete and culminates with a mock disaster scenario for the participants. TEEN CERT participants learn how to identify hazards, reduce fire hazards in the home and workplace, extinguish small fires, assist emergency responders, conduct light search and rescue, set up medical treatment areas, apply basic medical techniques, and help reduce survivor stress. Upon successful completion of this training, participants are not only prepared to serve as support to emergency responders, but can also help the school year-round by assisting with safety issues in the school.