UNL Extension pilots initiative on youth disaster preparedness
Lincoln, Nebraska, Jan. 18, 2018 – Nebraska Extension and Nebraska 4-H are piloting a national youth preparedness and educational outreach program designedto teach teens what to do in the event of disaster and emergency situations.
The My Youth Preparedness Initiative Nebraska is being offered through August. It is part of the National Youth Preparedness Initiative, a partnership delivering an innovative and engaging curriculum for teenagers across Nebraska and seven other states.
“Everyone can play a part in preparing for disasters and emergencies, especially teens,” said Ashley Mueller, disaster education coordinator for Nebraska Extension. “They bring unique perspectives and experiences when it comes to preparedness, and tapping into these can be very valuable to their families and communities.”
The initiative offers a flexible five to 10 week program. For the pilot, each state must graduate 125 teens by having them complete three components.
In component A, teenagers complete the United States Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Teen Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training focusing on disaster preparedness, fire safety and utility control, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, disaster psychology, and terrorism.
Component B features certification in CPR and AED usage, along with awareness programs focusing on HAM radio, NOAA weather radio, smoke alarm maintenance, and smart phone application and social media in emergency preparedness. The component also includes a disaster simulation, and a focus on public safety, fire service and emergency management careers.
The final element of the program, component C, includes a comprehensive family and community service project called “Prep + 6,” in which each participant helps develop emergency supply kits and emergency communication plans for their family and six additional families or households. This component allows for significant enhancement in individual, family and community preparedness and resilience.
Graduates of the program will receive a MyPI/CERT backpack filled with basic disaster and emergency response supplies.
In addition to Nebraska, the program is being piloted in Hawaii, New Jersey, Washington, Illinois, Tennessee, Virginia and Mississippi. Nebraska Extension has partnered with Nebraska Citizen Corps to deliver the program and has made plans to continue beyond the pilot phase.