In the event of a campus emergency, a group of Higley High School students is being trained to assist law enforcement with triage, basic treatments and light search and rescue.
About 20 Higley students are participating in the Teen SERT (School Emergency Response Training) pilot program with the Gilbert Fire Department.
Nancy Diab, assistant principal, said they are the first students to sign up for the program in Maricopa County and possibly even the state.
“Just in case something happens within the community or the school, (the students) can assist their peers and we can incorporate it into the school emergency plan,” Diab said. “It takes away that helpless feeling.”
The students participated in Saturday training for three hours for six weeks, culminating with a mock emergency exercise on Saturday.
Karissa Greene, a 16-yearold junior, said she’s learned a lot about fire safety and creating emergency plans for her household. She shares what she learns with her parents when she goes home after each lesson.
The lessons were also made applicable to the school setting.
If an emergency occurred on campus, students from the class would be pulled out of class to help, and would be able to provide assistance without panicking, Greene said.
“Say the ceiling fell and we were OK,” she said. “They would have us help people get out, light search and rescue, or if there was a little fire, we know how to put those out.”
Greene and her classmates have also learned to be more aware of their surroundings.
“One thing I do now, when I enter a room, I look to see where the exits are,” said Tyler Lovell, a 16-year-old junior.
Lovell, who wants to be a volunteer firefighter, said he’s learned how to assist people having breathing problems, how to use a fire extinguisher and where to apply pressure if someone is bleeding.
“It’s helping you become well-rounded (and) safe if an incident happens,” he said.
Jacob Schultz wants to go into the military and thought the course would be helpful in that capacity. The 16-year-old sophomore said he’s learned how to crib, or lift heavy things off of people, and perform light search and rescue. In day-to-day life, he’s learned what chemicals not to mix, how to take care of a Christmas tree so it doesn’t become a fire hazard, and safer routes to ride his bike.
He also understands that he doesn’t know everything.
“If you’re in danger,” he said, “don’t go in — call professionals.”