Alaskans know disaster, like an earthquake, can strike at any time. The Alaska Military Youth Academy is making sure its cadets are prepared for when the next one happens.


The cadets are going through Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, training. They’re learning how to prepare for the worst, including fire safety, basic medical response, triage and light search and rescue.


“It’s really teaching people how to work together in their community, in their neighborhoods to prepare for disasters and it really gives them the ability, gives them the skills to help respond after a disaster,” said emergency management specialist Michelle Torres. “Kids who understand about disasters are less fearful in them. We’re giving them some skills and some education so that when a disaster occurs, they don’t have that fear.”


Among the students in the class is 16-year-old cadet Dylen Myers.


“I’ve learned some very important things that will help me throughout my life in here,” he said. “Say something does happen, I’ll be able to make sure my family is safe and my neighbors and be able to respond without any problems.”


Beyond the CERT skills, the course also shows the cadets possible future career paths.


“I’ve actually gotten interested in the fire department, becoming a fireman because rescue is the most noble job out there,” said Myers.


“We’re empowering these youth to understand what preparedness it,” said Torres. “What we’re preparing them for today makes prepared adults in the future.”


The cadets will receive CERT certifications at the end of the course, which is seven weeks long. It was made possible through a partnership between the Alaska Military Youth Academy and the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.


KTVA 11’s Bonney Bowman can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.


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