Teens Can Make a Difference: Disaster Response Training

Teens Can Make a Difference: Disaster Response Training

By Duane Friend

As we near tornado season, we know that Illinois has its share of disasters. Tornadoes, floods, fires, earthquakes are just some of the things nature throws at us.

How well a community responds to a disaster depends on how many people are trained in emergency response. These individuals must work together as a team to be effective, and must be able to follow instructions from a central leader.

A new program being offered by University of Illinois Extension provides training in Community Emergency Response (CERT) training for teens. The program, called My PI (My Preparedness Initiative), is designed to give teens from 13 to 19 years of age the basics needed to volunteer for emergency response within their community. The program will be conducted on Thursday evenings from 545 pm to 815 pm, starting March 29 and running until May 10. In addition, there will be two Saturday sessions from 9 to noon on April 14 and May 5. Most sessions will be held at the Morgan County Extension office, 104 North Westgate in Jacksonville.

Teens accepted into the program will learn about disaster preparedness, fire safety, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, and several other topics. The curriculum is from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s basic training materials.

Many activities involving local first responders will be included. As part of program completion, participants will be expected to assist their family and 6 other households develop a disaster kit and disaster plan.

For anyone 13-19 years old contemplating a career in law enforcement, fire control, emergency medicine, or disaster management, this program provides valuable skills and knowledge!

There is no cost for this first time offering of the program. Upon full completion, participants will receive a backpack with a basic CERT kit.

To find out more about the My PI program visit https://mypiillinois.org/ or call 217-243-7424. To start an application, go to http://go.illinois.edu/teenCERT

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