The Homeland Security Program at Fayette County Public Schools’ Eastside Technical Center has been a DEM partner for a long time. The program serves Fayette, Jessamine, Scott, and Woodford County high school students who are interested in homeland security and public safety careers. They’ve worked with us on several projects. Among other things, Eastside provides volunteer “victim” roleplayers for the ten-county CSEPP field exercise every September. The students who join us for that annual event get a firsthand view of how the Lexington Fire Department decontaminates patients who’ve suffered hazardous chemical exposure. Back in the classroom, Homeland Security students learn actions to take before, during, and after a disaster and gain exposure to the standards and practical skills that professional emergency responders use every day.
Last November (and we apologize for not picking up this story sooner!), the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that it is partnering with Eastside’s Homeland Security program under the National Strategy for Youth Preparedness Education. This is the first school-based program in Kentucky, and only the second in the nation, to complete FEMA’s certification for the National Strategy program. That program is a joint effort between FEMA, the Red Cross, and the US Department of Education to create more prepared youth. With approximately 25% of our population under the age of 18, it’s critical to take the unique needs of children and teens into account in not only emergency planning but emergency education.
Congratulations to all the students, teachers, and staff at Eastside’s Homeland Security Program for the payoff for all their hard work!