What Teens Can Do Against Terrorism
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Teens have been involved in preventing crime for many years. They have worked with elders, peers, and children in settings ranging from neighborhood parks to schools to senior citizen centers to shopping malls. They have addressed subjects such as home and personal security, vandalism prevention, child abuse prevention, and drug prevention. They have proved their capacity and willingness to help. What can teens do about preventing and responding to terrorism and other civic emergencies? There's a lot!
You and Your Family
- Learn how to report crime or suspicious activities or situations, and report promptly and effectively.
- Make sure you know how to handle mail safely. Do not open any mail that looks suspicious; call local emergency authorities immediately. Help develop family action plans and take responsibility for updating them.
- Assist in gathering a family supply kit and keeping it fresh.
- Help identify "take with" items in event of an emergency evacuation.
- Identify any special needs you personally have for supplies and take responsibility for them. Learn CPR and first aid to help with medical emergencies.
- Help older relatives or neighbors who live in your area to prepare for emergencies.
- Encourage your family to join or help start a Neighborhood Watch program in your community.
- Build up ties to neighbors and schoolmates. The better these relationships, the more likely you will successfully respond together to any emergency, which in turn makes you and your family safer.
- Learn how to report suspicious actions or situations promptly and effectively.
- Help organize clean-ups and fix-ups so that neighbors can more readily spot potential trouble.
- Get training in child care so you can help watch children while their parents work on prevention or recovery strategies.
- Enlist youth groups you belong to (religious, scouting, 4-H, or similar groups, to name a few) to help out in the neighborhood in emergencies. Get training as a group. Offer your computer skills to provide a neighborhood directory and an inventory of skills and assets that your neighbors are willing to share. Visit http://www.ncpc.org/topics/preparedness/ for more information.
- Help to conduct the neighborhood survey. Offer your help in developing a neighborhood plan for preventing and responding to emergencies. Gather a group of young people and identify ways in which you can assist in planning and in carrying out plans.
- If you have a special skill (perhaps you have volunteered in a hospital or worked at a police station as a volunteer), share it with your neighbors.
- Find out whether your school has a group of volunteer students to help out in emergency situations. If so, join up. If not, offer to help start such a group.
- Learn about school policies in different kinds of emergencies. In partnership with the faculty and administrators, help educate other students on how these policies work.
- If your school does not have an electronic security system with cameras and controlled access, suggest that one be installed.
- Start a School Crime Watch if your school does not already have one.
- Join with other students to become a Community Emergency Response Team. Ask your local fire department about training or visit www.fema.gov to learn more about these civilian volunteers who received specialized medical and emergency response training.
- Work out ways to help students discuss fears and concerns about emergency situations that arise while you are at school. Ask counselors about training peer counselors to help in emergency or tense situations.
- Work with younger students in your school and with students in lower level schools to help them understand emergency policies. Because you're a bit older, these children will often look up to you and listen to you. You could even become a mentor to one or two younger children.
- Develop student announcements, school newspaper inserts, bulletin boards, and other communications that help keep students (and others) up to date on homeland security issues, especially as they apply to your community.
- Energize student support for first responders through educational visits, fundraising drives, and discussions of procedures in place and issues confronted.
- Speak with others who live outside your neighborhood about the importance of preparing intelligently for emergencies and how neighbors can work together. Offer to connect them with what's happening in your neighborhood so they can learn from your experience.
- Volunteer in hospitals, police stations, fire and ambulance stations, and similar primary response agencies. Use your talents and your willingness to work to pitch in for the whole community.
- Talk with youth groups about what your school or neighborhood has done or is doing to become better prepared to deal with emergencies.
- Offer to bring to other parts of the community programs you have developed for younger children.
- Use youth talent (anything from a basketball marathon to a battle of the bands) to raise funds for local emergency agencies.
- Sign up with the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, or another emergency-response organization as a volunteer.
- Speak up at public hearings for the needs and concerns of youth and children in emergency situations. Work with other young people to come up with a list of ways you can help and ways the community can help you.
- Sign up (if you are old enough, which depends on your area) as a volunteer firefighter, or attend a citizens' or a youth academy, if your police department offers one.
- Talk with youth groups and youth-serving organizations around the community about working together to help your neighborhoods and each other develop and sharpen emergency prevention and response skills.