Sophomore launches new Student Emergency Response Team (SERT)


Witt Kolsky ('21)

SERT team receives first aid training

Heather Holm, Staff Writer

On Saturday April 27, 18 Viewpoint students ranging from Freshmen to Juniors spent the day at Viewpoint’s campus training in the use of first aid. The students that attended this event are all members of Viewpoint’s new Student Emergency Response Team (SERT), founded by sophomore Witt Kolsky (’21).

SERT was developed from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and “is a branch of their community response program,” according to Kolsky. SERT is made up of students in grades nine through twelve who are trained to respond during major school emergencies, such as earthquakes, fires, and lockdowns.

The team trains throughout the year and during the summer with campus safety and local first responders. Members receive training in areas such as first aid, search and rescue, evacuation procedures, self defense, and fire suppression.

“Currently the team is focusing on getting those first aid skills down because I feel those skills apply to all major emergencies,” Kolsky said.

During the team’s first training session, students covered splints, worked on bleeding control, and learned other basic first aid tactics. SERT also did a tour of Viewpoint’s campus and were shown where all the safety equipment is kept.

“We all know our campus, but to get them (SERT members) oriented to where the emergency equipment is kept was important because not a lot of students know where everything is and how it works,” Kolsky said.

People might be wondering why Viewpoint needs a student response team when the school already has a campus safety department. Kolsky says it’s important for people to know how to respond to emergencies, especially “in light of all the recent tragedies that have been happening around the country in high schools and major public places.” Not only are these skills useful in high school, but students can carry on these skills with them throughout college and their lives.

“Viewpoint does have an amazing campus safety team, who are highly trained and ready to respond in an emergency,” Kolsky said. “But the fact of the matter is that during a major emergency, such as a large earthquake, we would not have enough resources to respond.”

Viewpoint’s large emergency procedure involves students helping to search, rescue, and give first aid. Kolsky says having students pre-trained makes the plan much more efficient.

Students who join SERT can expect to be able to work with Director of Campus Safety Carlos Sanchez, and his team. They will also receive training revolving around helping other students.

“As we’ve seen in recent school disasters, one person’s heroic actions can save dozens of lives — the goal of SERT is really the selfless acts of students in order to protect others,” Kolsky said.

According to Kolsky, any student is able to join SERT regardless of whether they have past experience or not. Although the deadline for applications for SERT has already passed, for students who want to join in future years the only requirement for students Kolsky says, “is that they are able to commit to the time and effort the program requires.”

In terms of SERT’s future, Kolsky plans on expanding and even making it a nationwide program for schools around the country. SERT is currently at 41 members and Kolsky would like to have 60 members on the team by the time he graduates. Kolsky wants to spread SERT nationwide by having other schools look at his plans and make it a pilot program.