Savannah-Chatham County Public School System

Groves High School Graduates First Chatham County Teen CERT Class

Published on: 12/20/2019

​Twenty students at Groves High School Logistics program graduated this week from the first Teen Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training.  They now have the skills necessary to better assist their school and neighborhood if a disaster strikes. When a disaster hits, it’s often the most marginalized, vulnerable communities that suffer most. When faced with a crisis, marginalized communities do their best to respond in any way they can.  Investing in the preparedness of marginalized communities will reduce the negative impact of disasters for our Chatham County neighbors that inevitably suffer the most.

The two lead trainers for the Teen CERT program were Natavia Sanders - CERT Coordinator for Community Organized Relief Efforts (CORE), and Beverlee Trotter - Executive Director for Savannah Youth City.  In October 2018, a pilot program was launched that certified the trainers through the Chatham Emergency Management Dept to expand CERT throughout the Chatham County area.  Also, in 2018, Savannah Youth City, Inc. and the SSU Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department received the outstanding Collaboration Award for Building and Sustaining an Outstanding partnership in Preparedness from the Chatham Emergency Management Agency.

During the course, students learned how to open airways, control bleeding, and treat shock, plus, put out fires, search and rescue, and react to an active shooter.  They also received training on how to organize volunteers and collect disaster intelligence in order to support the efforts of first responders. Instructors for the program included paramedics, firefighters, doctors, and other qualified professionals.

Youth volunteers who completed the training gained these important skills to enable them to help in emergency situations that can arise in everyday life. Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) programs exist around the country, as do TEEN CERT programs, but this new program – a collaboration between CORE, Savannah Youth City, Inc., and the SSU Homeland Security and Emergency Management, is unique to Savannah.  You may see CERT or Teen Cert around town volunteering or assisting first responders. Upon completion of the course, youth participants and Adults receive a vest, hardhat and backpack with the National CERT logo on it filled with supplies to assist First Responders and serve their communities, neighborhoods and schools.


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