Maintaining the attention of 18 young people, Jon Rosenlund explained the procedures of putting pressure on bleeding wounds during the first day of Teen Community Emergency Response Team Basic Training.

Rosenlund is the Grand Island/Hall County emergency management director and instructor for the Teen CERT Basic Training program, which began Tuesday and will continue through Thursday for students interested in becoming members of the Hall County Teen CERT team.

In contrast to previous years, this training is at the Hall County Emergency Management Communications Center at 1210 North Road in Grand Island. Rosenlund will continue using the curriculum that focuses on CERT personal preparedness, search and rescue, disaster triage and rapid treatment, disaster first-aid, incident command and team dynamics and disaster psychology.

He said this training focuses on responding to mass casualties and traumatic injury scenarios. The training not only prepares students for effectively responding to disasters, but it also teaches them how to respond to and understand victims in disaster situations.

“They can recognize how they can work with patients and help respond to their psychological and emotional needs,” Rosenlund said, “as well as recognize those in yourself as a responder.”

On the last day of the training, the students will have to participate in a final disaster exercise where they will incorporate and demonstrate all of the techniques learned in the previous training days.

With the change in location, Rosenlund said, he is still trying to adjust how he will conduct the training to make it as efficient as possible. Although he primarily works as the only instructor, his daughter, Daina Rosenlund, helps guide the students through each training task. She is a member of the Teen CERT team that meets regularly throughout the year.

For Kyle Hall, 17, taking this training is not only beneficial for disaster preparedness, but for his future career. Hall said his mom told him about the training and he decided to sign up.

“My mom told me about it because I am trying to become a paramedic or firefighter here in Grand Island,” he said.

Hall said he is planning to sign up for the Teen CERT team after graduating from this basic training course.

Angela Hall, 14, said that she decided to sign up because her mother recommended it and her brother decided to join.

Rosenlund said this training only covers the basics of disaster preparedness, but the skills learned are used for the higher levels of the Teen and Adult CERT teams. These higher level teams also learn how to do damage assessments that can help during and after disaster events.

“During the Wood River flooding, our adult and teen CERTs were our primary damage assessment group,” he said.

Rosenlund said that CERT members were sent out with the Hall County Civil Air Patrol to do a mock search and rescue for plane-crash victims. Although scenarios such as these may not occur in the area, being prepared is the first step.

“Just last year we had a migrant worker lost in a cornfield and we had volunteers from the adult CERT team do a search and rescue to find the worker,” he said.

Rosenlund said the students in this training try to keep it fun and light, but he also teaches them about the seriousness and reality of emergency disasters.

“We feel really strongly that teaching families and youths how to help themselves and their families in a disaster is important,” he said. “Self-sufficiency is emergency preparedness.”

Natalie Saenz is The Independent's summer intern for 2019. She welcomes news tips and information 24/7!

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