Tornados, floods and earthquakes, Oh My! 42 area youth had the opportunity to see how they fit into the response after an emergency occurs in their community. Operation Safeguard Academy was a week-long summer camp for student’s ages 12-17 years of age. These students were selected for their maturity, leadership potential and willingness to learn. They came from 17 different schools in and around the Indianapolis area. They participated in 5 days of emergency preparedness and response activities such as fire extinguisher training, first aid, and search and rescue exercises, as well as leadership development and public relations skill building. The week ended with a full-scale emergency response exercise which offered the participants the opportunity to utilize the skills they learned. The purpose of the camp is to begin to instill a culture of preparedness and awareness in the young people of our community. These kids were able to work side by side with local first responders and public safety officials from all levels of government while still having fun and spending time with their friends.
Park Tudor School, The Children’s Forum, Ball State University, Marion County Emergency Management, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Clarian Health Partners and the United Way of Central Indiana all partnered to create this unique learning opportunity. A graduation ceremony for the participants was held on Friday afternoon after the completion of the full-scale emergency response exercise. The kids ended their week with a “tool-bag” of skills and equipment that they will take with them for the rest of their lives.