By Julene Reese
Utah State University Extension offers a course that teaches adults to prepare youth for emergencies, disasters and assisting others. The course is held May 31 to June 2 at the USU Bastian Agricultural Center, 2100 West 11400 South, South Jordan.
Approximately 15 adults will be trained to become certified instructors in the My Preparedness Initiative (MyPI). Once certified, they will then take the MyPI program to their communities and teach youth ages 13 to 19 how to take action in an emergency.
The MyPI course originated from Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension and is now used in many states. It focuses on teaching youth leadership and teamwork skills, seamless decision-making abilities, and precise communication, specifically when lives are at stake. Youth will learn to become weather aware, learn about technology in emergency preparedness, and realize their potential by positively impacting those around them when they need assistance.
“There are very few emergency preparedness training classes for youth,” said Stephanie Carlson, USU Extension home and community assistant professor and co-leader for the project. “The teens who participate will have the opportunity to receive hands-on instruction. We believe the more knowledge and skills people have, the better their chances of preserving property and saving the lives of families and community members.”
Michael Pate, USU associate professor and project co-leader, said creating a safety culture is the first step in supporting communities.
“Youth will learn critical skills, such as disaster preparedness, fire safety suppression, treatment of injuries, search and rescue, and school safety,” he said. “They will become CPR and defibrillator certified and will learn about smoke alarm maintenance, NOAA weather radios, social and smartphone apps, HAM radio, and more.”
Carlson said by the end of the course, youth will assemble emergency supply kits, develop family communication plans, and be able to help their household and others prepare for an emergency.
“Once the training is complete, youth can participate in the MyPI program in areas throughout the state,” she said. “With the wildfires and recent flooding, this project is working to develop safe responses for those in all our communities.”
The adult course will be taught by Ryan Akers, MSU associate Extension professor of community preparedness and disaster management. Instructor certification for approximately 15 individuals will be held again in February of 2024.
For further information on the program, contact Pate at (435) 797-0989 or Carlson at (801) 399-8203.