Preparedness education traditionally incorporates interactive
scenarios targeting critical thinking skills and decision-making in
real-time. However, this method is widely underutilized in the
general population and seldom targets the vulnerable youth
population as participants due to limitations in funding, rigorous
school testing schedules, and a reluctance to deviate from
traditional instructional methods. The Florida Department of Health
in Charlotte County formed a coalition of subject matter experts to
transform the classic tabletop exercise into an empowering and
low-cost introduction to preparedness in the classroom.
Incorporating all 15 CDC Public Health Preparedness Capabilities,
program staff integrated popular culture themes and evidence-
based public health theories into the school system’s existing
pedagogy. Advancing through a five-session preparedness course,
middle school students practiced hands-only CPR, explored
historical disasters, discussed topics in national and global
preparedness, and evaluated the process of emergency response.
They assumed command, developed plans, tested solutions, and
adapted to unexpected events in real-time. At the end of the
course, students identified lessons learned, correlated outcomes to
previous disaster scenarios, and achieved a newfound sense of
confidence to make emergency decisions for themselves and their
- Describe emerging practices and theories that can be applied
to improve community preparedness and community resilience
at the local, state, tribal, and national levels.
- Replicate and facilitate a unique exercise tool to build and
sustain youth resilience and capacity.
- Adapt an innovative youth exercise tool and tailor or scale its
contents to fit unique populations, various ages, and a variety