A group of students from Ray High School are now certified to help out with emergency situations. Last week, nine students and one teacher attended the Youth Preparedness Camp in San Marcos.
Most of the group went now knowing how to use a fire extinguisher, but left knowing valuable and potentially lifesaving tips to use in an en emergency situation.
Each day, students learned about different topics like how to treat someone who’s been injured, how to determine if a building is stable or not, or how to use a fire extinguisher. Benito Cantu, a sophomore at Ray High School, said those are just a few of the lessons learned at camp.
"We were learning like what to do when first responders can’t be there," Cantu said. "We had to be our own first responders."
To make sure students learned those lifesaving skills, they were put to the test. On the last day of camp, they took part in a mock disaster drill. In this case, it was an explosion. The teachers dressed as actors, bruised and bloody, were the victims of the explosion. It was the students’ job to rescue and save the teachers.
Noor Shaikh, a junior at Ray High School, said the mock disaster drill was eye-opening. Shaikh said the students were put under pressure, and forced to make some tough decisions.
"For the most part, it was pretty fast paced and very, very intensive," Shaikh said.
"It looked like an actual disaster scene," Cantu said.
The real-life experience was enough for teacher, Stephanie Street, to have confidence in her students, that if an emergency were to occur, her students would know how to respond.
"Personally, I feel a lot safer," Street said. "They can really just do whatever they need to do in a life-or-death situation."
By the end of the week, the students walked away with the knowledge of how to react to an emergency situation, and they also learned some life lessons too.
"Just knowing that we can make a difference is pretty fulfilling," Shaikh said.
"I do believe I can help my community," Natalie Quintanilla said, a senior at Ray High School. "And I feel safer knowing that there’s a group of us with this training," she added.
The nine students are now certified members of the community emergency response team (CERT). Their next goal is to be included in the city’s emergency plan.