Johnson County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), in partnership with Regina Catholic Education Center in Iowa City, is implementing Iowa’s first school-based Community Emergency Response Team (Teen CERT) program for students. Weekly training classes are set to begin on Wednesday, Sept. 22, and will conclude Friday, Nov. 5, providing a total of 20 hours of in-class instruction. The 16 students selected for this program have expressed an interest in either medical or first responder-related fields and will use this training to help build their foundation in their chosen career paths while being able to assist the school and community during times of disasters.
“This is a win-win for students and faculty,” Dave Wilson, Johnson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency Director, said. “By training these young people on emergency response, it not only helps their school, but it also helps our community.”
EMA Deputy Director Travis Beckman will coordinate the instruction and oversee the program.
The Regina CERT Program will educate students about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their school campus and surrounding community and train participants in basic disaster response skills. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, Regina CERT members can assist faculty and school administration following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. Regina CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their school and community.
The course is a combination of classroom sessions and hands-on training in scene assessment, fire safety, emergency medical response, team organization, disaster medical operations, and light search and rescue. The course also provides information on topics including local threats, hazards, county and Johnson County Emergency Management initiatives, including the Incident Command System, which is a standardized approach to command, control and coordination of emergency response.
Upon completion of this course, students will receive a certificate of training, a response backpack, and knowledge that will last a lifetime.