100 Hawaiʻi students on Maui undergo federal disaster response training for youth

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The first youth Community Emergency Response Team training held in Hawaiʻi teaches disaster preparedness and emergency response. This training was at Baldwin High School in Wailuku, Maui. PC: ClimbHI (10.9.23)

More than 100 students from 14 schools statewide have begun the first federal disaster response training program in Hawai‘i that is dedicated to youth.

This Community Emergency Response Team program runs Monday through Wednesday at Baldwin High School in Wailuku on Maui.

FEMA administers and supports this national program of volunteers trained in disaster preparedness and emergency response.


Students are learning hands-only CPR and first aid, as well as how 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. 

The training, which is occurring during the studentsʻ fall break, is being led by multiple partners including the American Red Cross of Hawai‘i, the University of Hawai’i Maui County Cooperative Extension and the US Navy.

To create a pono (balanced) training, the event is also incorporating Hawaiian cultural principles, including the importance of balancing kanaka (people), kai/ʻāina (land/ocean) and ʻuhane (our spirit). 


Hawai‘i workforce development nonprofit ClimbHI organized the training with support from the Hawai‘i Community Foundation Maui Strong Fund, Cornell Hotel Society and more than a dozen other partners with the goal of connecting student leaders from high schools across the state as they work to enhance the safety of their communities.

Upon the successful completion of the program, students will earn certificates from ClimbHI, the American Red Cross of Hawai‘i and University of Hawai’i Maui County Cooperative Extension. 

“Not only is this program connecting students from schools throughout the state as they receive critical emergency response training, but it also provides them with transferrable, in-demand skills and certifications as they transition into the workforce,” Julie Morikawa, President of ClimbHI, said in a press release. “These students are stepping up to become prepared leaders who can immediately help their communities.”


Participants also learn skills to help 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 and participate in disaster drills and exercises, present fire safety education, assist in preparedness outreach, provide peer mentoring and address school safety issues. 


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