Students complete Youth Emergency Preparedness Program

Published 10:15 am Thursday, May 9, 2024

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The Harlan County Youth Emergency Preparedness Program saw three Harlan County High School students complete the program on Monday, May, 6, adding to more than 20 graduates of the program since it began just a few years ago.
Harlan County Extension Agent Jeremy Williams and former Harlan County Emergency Management Director David McGill directed the class along with Clayton Carroll. Williams and McGill talked about the program during an interview preceding the program.
“It’s an 18-to-20-week afterschool program at Harlan County High School,” Williams said. “The graduates tonight have completed a program learning how to prepare for a disaster, but also picking up things like certifications in CPR and Stop the Bleed.”
Williams stated the graduates also gained SKYWARN training, which teaches how to determine incoming severe weather and report those conditions to the National Weather Service.
The Harlan County Extension Service, Harlan County Emergency Management, The Harlan County Fiscal Court and Harlan County Schools worked together to provide the program.
McGill noted students who successfully complete the course will graduate with a CPR certification, Stop the Bleed certification, and SKYWARN certification.
“They will be able to help save people’s lives,” McGill said.
Williams added the course requires the students to teach others about emergency preparedness procedures.
“They also have to find 5 individuals or families and show them how to prepare,” Williams said.
This year’s program graduates are Isabella Back, Brayden Clay, and Addison Truitt.
“We’ve had 25 in total to graduate since we’ve been doing it,” Williams said. “This is the third year…we now have 164 families that are now emergency prepared because of the program.”
McGill mentioned all aspects of the program are important.
“Last year, Jeremy (Williams) and I went through the program to see if there was anything we should take out of the program,” McGill said. “We came to the conclusion that everything in the program is vital and important. Everything we teach is important to them, not only during a disaster but in their daily lives. We teach them how to turn off their utilities, how to put in smoke alarms, and in the event something does happen they know how to crib up a car or a wall, or if somebody is bleeding profusely they know how to take care of it. These kids are walking out of this program able to save somebody’s life if the need arises. Everything in this class is vitally important.”
Harlan County High School students who wish to participate in next year’s class should keep their eyes and ears open for sign up opportunities.
“We’ll start recruiting when school starts in August,” Williams said. “But we’ll also ask these graduates tonight to go out and recruit for the program. They know it better than anybody because they’ve been there. They’ve participated in it.”
William added the program has had a positive impact on the community.
“We’ve seen the impact of this program from people who have had to utilize CPR to one who taught their employer how to install a smoke alarm in a correct location,” Williams said. “There’s been an impact there already. We’ve had three students who became firefighters because of the program. One became an EMT because of the program.”

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