Today, I spoke at Cedar Ridge High School, a beautiful and relatively new school in the Round Rock ISD system, to approximately 40 students taking a class entitled "Disaster Response" for school credit. (The seniors taking the class were not present, as today was the traditional "Senior Skip Day" where they forego their educational obligations and opt out of attending class.)
Today's presentation was similar to the ones I did at another local high school recently. I start these presentations with a 30 minute discussion highlighting my Six Axioms of Preparedness:
We then spent about 45 minutes working through a table top exercise that I designed. The exercise involves a bus crash in the evening filled with students returning from a school trip. The students work in teams to come up with their strategy as to how best to solve the various problems they are facing throughout the exercise. The students learn a lot from each other during these exercises.
To keep the conversation going, I leave the teachers with another table top exercise they can do on their own, involving a tornado hitting the school. This exercise is one I modified from my first book, Bracing For Impact.
The fact we are teaching disaster preparedness and response classes in high schools means we have come a long way in our efforts to build a culture of preparedness in America.
I encourage you to reach out to your local school district and offer your help in training. My suggestion is to find the website of your local high school and find out if there are any course offerings for students on a first responder career track. Those instructors are often appreciative of offers to speak in their classrooms about preparedness. I'll even send you my notes that you can use as the basis of your presentation.
It's incumbent upon us to support preparedness efforts; how can you help your local school get our kids ready for emergencies?
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