Stand and Deliver
Today, even teenagers have a choice to invest in themselves and become community leaders. In fact, people as young as 12 can join organizations like Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) and become peer leaders in their community, and work right alongside adults during an emergency.
As a teen, there are probably a lot of things you’re told you can’t do. But there is one very important thing you can do: Learn to protect yourself, your family, and your friends in case of disaster. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program is a national program of volunteers trained in disaster preparedness and emergency response. Volunteers come from all ages and all walks of life, including teenagers like you! Through Teen CERT, you can serve your community and help take care of your school and home.
Would you know what to do if an emergency struck your community or your school? After a disaster, professional first responders will be needed everywhere. In the chaotic aftermath of an emergency, who could help until professional responders arrive? Who could be the first person on-scene to step up? The answer: You.
In most emergencies, a bystander, or even the victim, provides the first immediate assistance. Joining Teen CERT teaches you how to respond when others look to you for help.
What You’ll Do
We all have a role to play in keeping our communities safe—no matter where you live, no matter who you are, no matter how you participate. What role will you play? Once you complete your CERT training, you can participate in or lead a variety of activities.
During an emergency, your Teen CERT could: organize volunteers, assist in evacuations, give assistance to survivors, provide damage assessment information, provide shelter support, and assist with crowd control.
Teen CERTs can also help in their schools year-round. Your Teen CERT could: participate in disaster drills and exercises, present fire safety education, assist in preparedness outreach, provide peer mentoring, and address safety issues in the school.
What You’ll Learn
It takes about 20 hours to complete the CERT training. But the critical skills you learn will last your entire life. During the training, you will learn to: put out small fires, conduct light search and rescue, assist those who are injured, set up medical treatment areas, assist emergency responders, identify, and anticipate hazards, reduce fire hazards in the home and workplace, and help reduce survivor stress.
You can also take the Introduction to CERT training. This independent study web-based training is interactive and will introduce you to CERT skills before you take the classroom training.
Where You Can Go
CERT training and operations under the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security prepares individuals to respond to emergencies caused by disasters and events. Once certified as an Emergency Responder, teenagers can take advanced training to explore and discover hidden talents and even find a path that leads to some of the careers listed below.
Civil Air Patrol
Disaster recovery coordinator
Drug Enforcement Agency
Emergency management and response
Emergency medical technician
Intelligence operations specialist
Probation and parole
Search and Rescue
Transportation Security Administration