Involving Youth in Community Emergency Preparedness: Impacts of a Multistate Initiative

Pamela Powell, Marilyn Smith, Lynette Black

Abstract


The National Preparedness Guidelines (2007) state, “as uniformed responders account for less than 1% of the total U.S. population, it is clear that citizens must be better prepared, trained, and practiced on how best to take care of themselves and assist others in those first crucial hours during and after a catastrophic incident.” This is increasingly more evident due to recent disasters such as hurricane Katrina. The Alert, Evacuate and Shelter (AES) program identified and trained youth/adult teams to use geospatial technology to map shelter locations and evacuation routes. Training began with team building activities to strengthen and build youth/adult preparedness partnerships. Program evaluations revealed a major shift in thinking about the positive potential level of involvement of youth in emergencies. Survey results immediately following trainings revealed statistically significant increases in participant knowledge gain regarding emergency preparedness. Follow-up evaluations indicate the success of this project in meeting community preparedness goals.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2009.238

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