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First Teen CERT to graduate from West Fargo High School

Simulated bus crash victim Kim Braesch, center, is helped off the bus by Teen CERT student Skyler Okke and school resource officer Todd Pearson of the West Fargo Police Department during the Monday mock disaster near the high school.

North Dakota's first Teen Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class graduated on Monday, May 11, at the West Fargo High School. The school has been piloting the state's Teen CERT program since January.

Prior to graduation ceremonies, the students participated in a simulated bus crash to test the skills they have learned in the course. Graduation and a lunch reception followed.

The Teen CERT program teaches students about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area. The course includes training in basic disaster response skills, fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. After completing the Teen CERT program, students will be able to use their training to assist others in their schools, neighborhood, or workplace when professional responders are not immediately available to help. Teen CERT members are also encouraged to take an active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

Students graduating from the program included Amber Colombo, Kaylah Eidum, Shadric Gaylah, Kasey Hartwig, Lee Howes, Brady Johnson, Joshua Keller, Heather Krsnak, Jeremy LaFromboise, Saidali Mahad, Ashton Nelson, Samantha Nelson, Lisa Nguyen, Skylar Okke, Michelle Olivieri, Ryan Remmen, Colton Schulz, and Autumn Jamison. The course was taught by Sara Lepp, FirstLINK Volunteer Center Director, in conjunction with West Fargo High School teachers, Krista Majkrzak and Marilyn Lalibert, and coordinated by Misti Mowery, from FirstLINK.

The pilot program has been made possible through a partnership between the West Fargo School District, North Dakota State University's Emergency Management Program, and FirstLINK. The CERT program in North Dakota is sponsored by the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services and the North Dakota League of Cities.