Student Emergency Response Teams
| 06.07.2006 | 08:01:04 | Views: 2949 | ID:
June 7 '06: Preparedness through government programs in cooperation with the private sector in airports, sea ports and along the border are all ways that federal officials and their state and local counterparts say is one way to help keep the nation prepared for a major natural disaster or terror attack. But a new pilot program, to keep schools prepared in case of an emergency, is being adopted by schools across the country. In Wisconsin, students at the Chippewa Falls public schools are participating in the Student Emergency Response Team program (SERT). "It's a program for kids from 13 to 18 years old. They're getting a three-day lesson in everything from putting fires out to dealing with a mass-casualty terrorist disaster," a local ABC affiliate reported Tuesday.
SERT was originally begun in 2003 by the Department of Homeland Security as a supplemental extension to the Community Emergency Response Team in schools. Those trained to work with SERTs learned "first aid, CPR, earthquake, awareness and responses so that they are prepared to help" first responders and medical personnel that arrive at the scene of a disaster in the first 72 hours.SERT students also help "in the accounting for students and staff during fire and earthquake drills," the DHS site read. In addition to SERT, there are programs through Ready.Gov's website in the kids section that gives information to parents and teachers on how to make emergency plans and emergency kits. In Catonsville, Maryland, the Catonsville Times reported recently that the school system in that area "has laid out three levels of emergency," to help their CERT and SERT volunteers. Level One requires only in-school participation and does not need large emergency response. Level Two would include several schools and would be have CERT response and Level Three would be a response by the county at-large. In Michigan at the Dowagiac Union High School, the South Bend Tribune, a local paper that serves the southern Michigan and Indiana area, reported that students there recently participated in an emergency drill with local fire and police officials. "The drill was set up to test the skills of the high school's Student Emergency Response Team, a group of 17 students that began intermediate training in January for emergency response to disaster. ... The dill included a full evacuation of the school because of a mock boiler explosion in the west side of the building. ... The victims (actors) were covered in red makeup to portray blood." Local police officer Dan Wiggins told the Tribune, "I was impressed with how well they talked to one another and worked together. ... It was the first time they did this, so mistakes are going to be made, but overall they did well."
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