What Is Teen CERT?
TEEN CERT is a national Homeland Security Initiative directed at making our schools and communities safer by having
educated / trained youth capable of preparing for and responding to disasters and emergencies. TEEN CERT is an integral part of the
Citizen Corps movement. TEEN CERT is a training program that prepares you to help yourself, your family and your school in the event of a
disaster. As a member of TEEN CERT, you can respond to disasters, participate in drills and exercises, and take additional training.
The purpose of the TEEN CERT program is to train students in emergency preparedness and response to ensure students have
the skills needed to protect themselves, and assist others, in the event of an emergency. In addition, students are likely to bring
lessons learned in the classroom home, thereby spreading the preparedness message to the entire family.
What Will Students Learn?
The TEEN CERT program, though adapted for adolescent learners, covers the same curriculum as the CERT program that was originally
designed for adults. There are nine units to the curriculum:
- Disaster Preparedness
- Fire Safety
- Disaster Medical Operations - part 1
- Disaster Medical Operations - part 2
- Light Search and Rescue Operations
- CERT Organization
- Disaster Psychology
- Review and Disaster Simulation
The TEEN CERT curriculum also serves to reinforce existing learning areas. For example: fire safety deals with
chemistry principles; search and rescue operations demonstrates physics concepts; disaster preparedness discusses psychology principles,
and terrorism deals with cultural diversity issues.
Who Will Be The Instructors?
The TEEN CERT program will be coordinated by a trained Program Manager who is familiar with all content and requirements for the program.
The individual units of instruction will be presented by subject matter experts in their particular disciplines. Examples of the
instructors would include emergency management professionals, local fire, police, emergency medical services personnel, school resource
officers, school nurses and other similar disaster response personnel.
How Much Does The Program Cost?
Instructional costs are provided at no cost by the volunteer professionals who have agreed to support the TEEN CERT program.
Training materials and student manuals will be provided at no cost. All students who complete the TEEN CERT curriculum will be equipped
with a TEEN CERT hard hat, identification vest, flashlight, gloves, masks, eye protection and other similar equipment. The school
will receive first aid supplies to support the TEEN CERT members. All above supplies will be funded by Citizen Corps grant funds awarded
to the State of New Jersey by the Department of Homeland Security.
What About Liability?
No matter what you do, there is always liability. The question is, can you reduce your risks and liability by having student responders
who are trained in first aid and other skills and who know how to react in the face of danger or disaster, immediately available in
Will The Training Expose Students To Additional Risk During An Incident?
The intent is not to expose the student to additional risk. Rather, it is to provide the school with trained personnel who are able
to render aid to victims during an event when professional responders may be delayed. This program is about learning to respond SAFELY.
These trained students can also support other activities within the school. They may point out unsafe conditions, they may identify
students who have become disenfranchised, or they may be role models who take on new leadership responsibilities within the school.
What Students Should Participate In Teen Cert?
It is recommended that the school representative determine how students will be selected for participation in the program. Selection
criteria may include the following:
- Students chosen based on academic eligibility
- Students chosen based on career goals
- Students chosen based on extra-curricular activity and availability
- Students chosen based on leadership skills / potential
The goal is to provide opportunities for a variety of students and exposure to the entire school population by incorporating
different student circles and organizations.
How Will Teen CERT Be Scheduled In My School?
All schools have structured curriculum and “availability times” when students can attend this or similar programs. Your task is to find
that availability. TEEN CERT enhances the educational experience and should not interfere with academic subjects.
What Is The Benefit To The School For Having A Teen CERT Program?
A trained student body will be available to provide assistance in the immediate aftermath of a disaster when professional responders may
be delayed or limited. TEEN CERTS are not replacements for professional responders. Schools may want to consider incorporating the
TEEN CERT program into their school emergency response plans.
What Is The Benefit To The Student?
Students will learn life skills, fulfill community service requirements, give back to the community, build self esteem and receive
the satisfaction that comes from helping others.