Redmond high’s new CERT class prepares students for disasters and emergencies | SLIDESHOW

On Tuesday morning, Catherine Robinson's classroom at Redmond High School (RHS) was filled with students laying on the ground, describing various injuries as other students checked on them.

Catherine Robinson (right) instructs students on how to check a person for injuries during Tuesday's CERT class at Redmond High School.

Catherine Robinson (right) instructs students on how to check a person for injuries during Tuesday's CERT class at Redmond High School.

On Tuesday morning, Catherine Robinson’s classroom at Redmond High School (RHS) was filled with students laying on the ground, describing various injuries as other students checked on them.

But this was not the aftermath of a major disaster. This was part of the school’s new Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class, in which students are learning how to respond to various emergency situations.

“It teaches people to be prepared for disasters,” said Robinson, the course’s instructor, adding that the curriculum is based on the premise that emergency services will not be able to reach them.

This is the first year the class has been offered, although she has been teaching the City of Issaquah’s CERT classes for eight years and has wanted to bring it into the classroom for a while. Robinson said teaching CERT at the school has been great because the students bring an untapped enthusiasm to the table. In addition, she said the class is an extension of the emergency drills they practice at school as it gives students the opportunity to learn some of the things they may need to do after the drills in a real-life situation.

One of the topics the course has covered so far is responding to a mass-injuries situation in which a small group of students tends to the rest of the class, who have been injured in some sort of disaster such as a major earthquake. The students have also learned how to suppress small fires — thanks to a visit from the Redmond Fire Department — and how to perform triage and tag injured individuals based on the level of their injuries.

“It covers a large gamut,” Robinson said.

Senior Sara Long signed up for the class because she knows emergency services may get overwhelmed during a disaster and said she thought it would be good to know what to do “if (she) was called.” And since she has been in the class, she said she has felt more comfortable in her abilities.

“This is real-world medical treatment,” Long said about what they are learning. “And that makes me feel more secure.”

Janey Griffith added that the class has been “a lot more medical than (she) thought it would be,” though this is no problem for the senior, who wants to be a physical trainer. She said it is good for students to get CERT trained because adults may not always have the time to do so and the teens can pass the information they learn on to their families.

Like Griffith, freshman Jake Massey and sophomore Anthony Casanas signed up for the class because they saw it as a way to help them in their future careers. Massey said he has been thinking about becoming a police officer and Casanas has always wanted to be a firefighter since he was little.

“This is just a good start to it,” Massey said about CERT training. He added that as someone with ADHD, the class is very hands on and it works well for him.

Casanas said he also enjoys how involved the class is.

“It’s not a bunch of worksheets,” he said, adding that the class has also solidified his desire to fight fires when he grows up.

Robinson, who also teaches biology and Advanced Placement environmental science at RHS, said CERT is a FEMA course and the school’s program is an extension of the City of Redmond’s program. She said they have also been working with the city on the course, bringing in people from the fire and police departments to talk with students. Other specialists such as a triage nurse and a psychologist are also among the guests that have visited or are scheduled to visit.

In addition to training the students, Robinson said the class is also working with the school’s administration to look at and incorporate what they learn into the school’s emergency plans.

In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

In Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s reopening plan, which was announced Jan. 28, restaurants can reopen at a maximum 25% capacity and a limit of six people per table. Inslee recently announced all counties will be staying in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan for the next several weeks. Pictured: People enjoy outdoor dining last summer in downtown Kent. Courtesy photo
Inslee: All of Washington to stay in Phase 2 for a few weeks

The governor issued a weekslong pause on regions moving backward, but has yet to outline a Phase 3.

Entrance to the Tukwila Library branch of the King County Library System. File photo
King County libraries will reopen in some cities for in-person services

Fall City, Kent libraries among six selected for partial reopening.

A South King Fire & Rescue firefighter places a used test swab into a secure COVID test vial on Nov. 18, 2020, at a Federal Way testing site. (Sound Publishing file photo)
Masks are still king in combating new COVID strains

A top UW doctor talks new strains, masks and when normal could return.

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Democrats look to allow noncitizens to serve on school boards

A Senate bill takes aim at a state law requiring anyone seeking elected office to be a citizen.

A CVS pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing
State health leader: We have a plan, we don’t have the supply

Two months after the COVID vaccine landed in Washington, many still struggle to secure their shots.

An Island Park Elementary teacher and her students hit the books on Feb. 8 in the Mercer Island School District. The single largest amount of Gov. Jay Inslee’s newly announce relief package, $668 million, will go to public elementary and secondary schools to prepare for reopening for some in-person learning and to address students’ learning loss. Courtesy photo
Inslee signs $2.2 billion COVID relief package

The federal funds will go to fight COVID, aid renters and reopen shuttered schools and businesses.

File photo
How the pandemic and coronavirus variants can show us evolution in real time

Scientists say viruses reproduce and mutate at higher rates, creating viral variants.

Dr. Kristina Adams Waldorf, an ob-gyn with the University of Washington School of Medicine and senior author of the report (Photo Credit: University of Washington School of Medicine)
UW study shows high COVID infection rates among pregnant women

Study shows infection rates to be two to four times higher than expected among minority groups.

file photo
King County prosecutor’s charge man in killing of his 8-year-old son

Police say man is suspected of February murder in community East of Redmond.

Most Read