Upper School students have made a commitment to giving back in a powerful way, undergoing hours of training to become emergency teen first-responders, making MICDS one of the only schools with a certified TEEN CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) program in the St. Louis area and one of just a handful nationwide.
This program was brought to MICDS by Nidhi Bhaskar ’17, who completed her training in May 2015 from Mid America Teen CERT and is a trained and certified emergency teen first-responder. “I wanted to bring this program to MICDS because I saw it as a wonderful opportunity to promote emergency preparedness, leadership and team building skills,” she explains. “It also offers training that enhances critical thinking and decision-making, and provides students an opportunity to fulfill community service requirements. It is a platform through which we can volunteer to give back to the community as medics in community events.”
MICDS Director of Student Services Vicki Thurman and Director of Campus Security and Safety Tim White are serving as advisors to the MICDS team.
A total of 17 Upper School students completed 22 hours of training over two weekends in February to earn FEMA certification as first responders. The training focused on disaster preparedness and drills. As a trained group, members of MICDS TEEN CERT can participate in disaster drills and exercises, present fire safety education in the Lower and Middle School and address safety issues across campus. The team also hopes to provide peer mentoring, assist in community preparedness outreach and spread awareness to local schools. Finally, they will also have the training to volunteer as a group in times of any local natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes, etc.
The following students completed the required 22 hours of training:
Anjali Pante ’17, Caroline Denk ’18, Elizabeth Hughes ’18, Grace Kroeger ’18, Josh Porter ’17, Kelci Creath ’19, Lily Hofer ’17, Lindsey Royce ’18, Lydia Smith ’18, Nicole Howard ’16, Robert Greenspan ’18, Skyler Halbeck ’17, Stephanie Gabel ’18, Trisha Venkatesh ’17, Tyler Raclin ’16, Vignesh Janardhanam ’17
The following students have begun their training:
Henry Garside ’17, Kumu Myla ’17, Lawrence Taylor ’16, Samad Alvi ’17, Teddy Otti ’16
Students who participated in the training are enthusiastic about this important new program and were eager to offer comments.
Lily Hofer: “Our CERT instructor told us during the training that teens are a huge group that the CERT program is targeting now because after high school, we will disperse all over the country to different colleges. This means that there will be trained responders all over the country.”
Elizabeth Hughes: “I think that it is very important for more teens to have this training because even though the probability of a disaster is very low, the training is applicable to many different situations both big and small. The training has given all of us the ability to feel comfortable being an initiator in the instance of a situation, no matter the size.”
Anjali Pante: “I was interested in becoming trained in this program because I think that what the program taught would be valuable. Emergencies can occur at any time, and by having this training I feel adequately prepared if an emergency were to occur.”
Vignesh Janardhanam: “I believe CERT is important because everyone needs to be able to help themselves and those around them in a disaster situation. Things that we learned CERT do not only have to be applied in disaster situations, but can be used in less serious situations. There are also parts of CERT that teach us how we can prevent and protect ourselves from some disaster situations.”
Nicole Howard: “I really want to specialize in emergency medicine or pediatric oncology someday and I see Teen CERT as a way to further my aspirations of becoming a doctor. As a Teen CERT member, I’m trained in how to run search and rescue operations, how to extinguish fires and keep the population safe, and how to deliver medical aid to those who need it. I’ve learned how splint broken bones with anything available and how to stop the bleeding in situations as minor as deep cuts to as major as amputated extremities with the least amount of gauze, for in a disaster situation medical supplies become scarce. Thanks to Teen CERT, while others run away from an area that has been struck by disaster, I will be able to run toward it and help.
Samad Alvi: “I think teen training is imperative for the safety and well-being of all in disastrous situations, whether that be children, adults, or special needs individuals. Putting others before myself is an important principle for me, even if it puts me at risk in certain situations. Teen CERT has taught me essential skills that I will be able to use to assist the community in times of emergency, disaster, and great difficulty. Acquiring these skills and learning about disaster in general was the overall reason I wanted to participate in this program.”
Lydia Smith: “I was interested in participating in the Teen CERT program because I enjoy STEM related classes and activities, and CERT offered medical training (such as taking care of impalements, treating shock, and doing head-to-toe assessments of victims), as well as psychological first aid training. I am especially interested in entering the medical field in my college studies and as a possible future occupation, and CERT provided me with a good start in medical education. In addition, we learned other useful tools for how to both stay calm and stay safe during disasters, and it was a great way to be trained in order to reach out into the community in case of an emergency.”