DRAT! Disaster Readiness Actions for Teens Factsheet
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DRAT! (Disaster Readiness Actions for Teens)
DRAT! Disaster Readiness Actions for Teens is a youth emergency preparedness training program with the goal of engaging, educating, and empowering youth to respond safely during community critical incidents such as natural disasters, man-made incidents, public health emergencies, and school threats.
Focus on Teens
Multiple youth emergency preparedness programs exist for young children, but few programs have been developed specifically for teens (or tweens), and no other program also addresses preparing for the emotional impact of a disaster. DRAT! includes a Teen Psychological First Aid training and a Youth PFA card.
In order to engage our target population, the DRAT! program name and logo were selected through a survey of 5th – 12th grade youth. MDH also utilized a Focus Group consisting of emergency responders, local public health, schools, healthcare providers, youth groups, and youth representatives to review the training materials and provide input into the modules contents so that the training could meet the needs of various youth related organizations.
DRAT! Program Content
DRAT! is designed to be taught utilizing a train-the-trainer concept of peer youth trainers. Throughout each module, the participants have the ability to demonstrate their knowledge with group interaction or hands on demonstrations. The training can be completed in a single 1-2 hour training session, or it can be broken into sections and provided over a longer period such as afterschool or summer program.
The training is segmented into six (6) modules, each addressing a separate area of emergency preparedness:
- Why Prepare - discusses how emergencies can happen, and why you need to be prepared. Emergencies are defined as anything that poses an immediate risk to health, life, or the environment.
- Stay Safe - provides information on the various types of disaster situations and how to respond to keep you safe. Geared toward teens with tips like why you shouldn’t drive in even 2” of water, and emergency & safety phone apps.
- Make a Plan - discusses why you and your family should have a plan and provides a folder of forms for teens and their parent/primary caregiver to create their own emergency family and communication plans.
- Make a Kit - discusses how what type of supplies you have on hand can make a big difference in an emergency, and guides participants through the development of their own starter emergency preparedness kit (each teen is provided with a starter emergency preparedness kit to take home).
- Stay Calm - focuses on how to help you manage stress by providing basic information about stress and coping, along with simple intervention techniques such as belly breathing and muscle relaxation. Includes a Youth Psychological First Aid Help card with Safety, Calm, Connect, and Empower tips on one side and Stress Prevention Tips on the other.
- Celebration of Knowledge - This final module is an opportunity for participants to display their emergency preparedness knowledge in fun activities and to brainstorm on how to encourage emergency preparedness planning in their friends, families, and their community.
Use as a Recovery Tool
The DRAT! program was utilized after the 2011 North Minneapolis tornado as a vehicle for post-emergency preparedness education, and as way to educate tornado impacted youth about the importance of disaster stress and self-care.
As of June 2012, 265 North Minneapolis tornado impacted youth had been trained in DRAT! with surveys returned from 232 students in grades 5th through 12th.
- 60 % male /40 % female
- 30.6 % 6th Graders
- 30.6 % 7th Graders
- 21.6 % 8th Graders
- 94% indicated that the information provided during the training was useful
- 94% would do something different in an emergency as a result of the training
- 89% identified that because of the training they would think and act differently if faced with an emergency situation
- “I learned about thunderstorm and tornado warnings. I plan to use this in an emergency.” (8th grade)
- “A bridge is not a safe place to go during a tornado. When there is another tornado, I will go into a ditch and not a bridge.”(8th grade)
- “Don’t do drugs, and remember to stay in the basement during a tornado. I plan to use this information when needed.” (8th grade)
- “I learned fire safety – no cords under the rugs. I plan to go home and tell my mom.” (9th grade)
- “I learned about blizzards and frostbite, and making a plan in case we have another tornado”. (11th grade)
- “I learned that you always have to have a plan. I plan to make a plan.”(6th grade)
Bringing DRAT! To Your Community
The Minnesota Department of Health would like to offer DRAT! training to your community. We have trained over 50 MN HOSA (Health Organization Student Association) peer leaders in DRAT! and we are looking for additional partnerships to facilitate pushing the training out across Minnesota.
So if you are a public health department, youth organization, school program, youth community group, or other entity that works with teens and you are interested in providing and/or sponsoring a DRAT! training please contact the Minnesota Department of Health.
Let’s work together to build resilient Minnesota communities by educating and empowering our youth!
For more information, contact:
Behavioral Health Program Coordinator
Office of Emergency Preparedness