“I’m extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to go through and learn to be a member of CERT because now I feel sufficiently prepared to help others and myself in a time of emergency.” –Maria McCoy, Junior

What is TEEN CERT?
TEEN CERT is a training program that prepares students to help themselves, family and school in the event of a disaster. During an incident, emergency service personnel may not be able to reach everyone right away. By getting trained in TEEN CERT students will have the skills to help emergency responders, save lives, and protect property. As members of a TEEN CERT team, students can respond to disasters, participate in drills and exercises, and take additional training.

● Identify and anticipate hazards
● Reduce fire hazards in the home and workplace
● Extinguish small fires
● Assist emergency responders
● Conduct light search and rescue
● Set up medical treatment areas
● Apply basic medical techniques
● Help reduce survivor stress
● Certified in CPR and AED protocols

In 2006, Lake Michigan Catholic High School was invited by Sergeant Rick Smiedendorf and the St. Joseph Police Department to pilot a Homeland Security Program in Berrien County called TEEN CERT – Community Emergency Response Team. Today Lt. Pete Fister and the St. Joseph Fire Department facilitate our CERT program.

Under the direction of school and local emergency responders, TEEN CERT teams help provide critical support by giving immediate assistance to victims, providing damage assessment information, and organizing other volunteers at a disaster site. Teen volunteers trained in CERT also offer a potential workforce for performing duties such as shelter support, crowd control, and evacuation. The role of a TEEN CERT volunteer is to help others until trained emergency personnel arrive. The CERT program involves 40 hours of training and teaches teens the critical skills needed in emergency preparedness.

Deb Schmid, Guidance Counselor and Advisor, Lake Michigan Catholic High School, (269) 983-2511 ext. 48