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The Otoe-Missouria Tribe

The Otoe-Missouria Tribe

Otoe-Missouria Youth Become the First Tribal Emergency Response Team Instructors in Nation

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By Heather Payne, Otoe-Missouria Public Information Office on January 15, 2019

NORMAN, Okla.--Four Otoe-Missouria tribal youth became the first Tribal Teen CERT Team Instructors in the United States this weekend in Norman.  

CERT teams are Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). They are a national program of volunteers trained in disaster preparedness and emergency response.

The youth participated in a 20-hour training that taught them how to be instructors for other youth and adults. Upon completion of their training, the youth are now certified to instruct others on the creation of CERT Teams.

Previously the youth were part of the first Tribal Teen CERT Team also through the Otoe-Missouria Tribe.

The new Teen CERT Team instructors are Anias Bible, Derek Bible, Michaela Kihega and Breanna Kihega (the Otoe-Missouria Tribal Princess). Their chaperone was Carolee Bible Pratt who also completed the instructor training.

The instructor training took place at the Norman Fire Department with participation from the Norman Fire Department, Oklahoma County Emergency Management and the Oklahoma City Emergency Management. The training was sponsored by the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security.

During their previous trainings, the Otoe-Missouria Teen CERT participants learned: how to extinguish small fires; conduct light search and rescue; assist those who are injured; set up medical treatment areas; assist emergency responders; identify and anticipate hazards; reduce fire hazards in the home and workplace; help reduce survivor stress.

For the last several years the Otoe-Missouria Emergency Manager James LeClair has worked with FEMA to prepare the tribe and the surrounding community for natural and manmade disasters. His efforts have resulted in the establishment of an adult and teen CERT teams.

“The youth plan on teaching their own TEEN CERT Camp sometime in the future and they would also like to do a leadership camp in participation with other tribes,” LeClair says. “I cannot tell you how proud I am of these kids. They gave up a whole weekend to become Certified CERT instructors.”

The Otoe-Missouria Teen CERT will also be presenting at the Intertribal Emergency Management Coalition (ITEMC) Summit as well as volunteering their time to help to help at the event.

For more information about the Otoe-Missouria Teen Cert Team contact James LeClair at 580-723-4466 ext 142.


The Otoe-Missouria Teen CERT Team became the first Tribal Teen CERT Instructors in the nation during a training over the weekend in Norman. The new certified instructors are (L to R) Michaela Kihega, Derek Bible, Breanna Kihega, chaperone Carolee Bible Pratt and Anias Bible.