JHS students practice for emergencyIn the event of an emergency, 115 Jamestown High School freshmen are now prepared to take response measures after participating in Thursday’s Teen Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) disaster drill exercise. The exercise marked the culmination of nearly two months of Teen CERT training for these students in conjunction with the health classes offered at JHS.
In the event of an emergency, 115 Jamestown High School freshmen are now prepared to take response measures after participating in Thursday’s Teen Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) disaster drill exercise.
The exercise marked the culmination of nearly two months of Teen CERT training for these students in conjunction with the health classes offered at JHS.
As students from the school’s drama department donned fake blood in the JHS parking lot to imitate a school bus crash, two groups of Teen CERT students responded to the scene as though it were real life.
“This exercise helped me a lot to see exactly what it would be like in case something bad like this were to really happen,” said Kayla Weng, JHS freshman and Teen CERT participant.
The goal of the exercise and the training overall was to prepare the students for taking care of themselves, their families and their neighbors in the event an emergency occurs.
Some of the participants like freshman Ross Monson have really enjoyed learning about that type of responsibility.
“It’s pretty interesting and kind of cool to realize that us kids can be ready for this type of situation and can feel ready to act in case something really does happen,” Monson said.
This marks the second year the program has been conducted at JHS.
According to Todd Volk, Stutsman County assistant emergency manager and Teen CERT facilitator, this is a national program that was emphasized in schools across the country soon after Sept. 11, 2001.
“We really wanted to implement this in Stutsman County, and we thought what better way than here at Jamestown High School,” Volk said.
The 115 students participating this year is the largest Teen CERT group in the nation, according to Jerry Bergquist, Stutsman County emergency manager, whose office has assisted throughout the training as well.
“I’m very pleased to see that we have such a large group of students that understands there’s a process during these types of emergency situations,” said Bob Toso, superintendent of Jamestown Public Schools.
Students have learned several things throughout the course including fire safety, medical triage, school safety and disaster psychology from professionals throughout the Jamestown community.
Jamestown Ambulance, American Red Cross, Jamestown Fire Department, Jamestown Regional Medical Center, Jamestown Police Department, Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office and Stutsman County Emergency Management Office have all assisted throughout the training and several were present for the exercise.
“They’ve done a great job of learning about disaster planning and preparedness as well as having a plan to take care of themselves and work with their family and neighbors,” said Beth Dewald, executive director of the Buffalo Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross.
Toso said it has been great to see so many community agencies reaching out and working with the students.
Hopes are that this training could also spark potential career interest, according to Bergquist, as building knowledge of emergency response could lead to these students working in law enforcement, fire rescue, disaster relief, etc.
After completing Thursday’s exercise, JHS health teachers Bill Nelson and Cheryl Sunderland were both happy with the students’ work.
“It was a little overwhelming for some of them at first, but they’ve done a really good job,” Sunderland said.
“It’s great that if a kid comes upon an accident or an emergency, they’ll know where to start and what to do when they encounter that,” Nelson said.
Sun reporter Brian Willhide can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at email@example.com