South Australian students called to kickstart their year by getting disaster ready with a Duke of Edinburgh International Award

6 February 2024

Australian Red Cross in collaboration with the South Australian Country Fire Service (CFS) and Commissioner for Children and Young People Helen Connolly, and supported by the Duke of Edinburgh International Award, has launched the Youth in Emergencies Development Program (YEDP) set to empower the youth of South Australia to be disaster ready.

Open to Year 9-12 students across the state, the program gives young people the opportunity to work towards a Duke of Edinburgh International Bronze Award, and to enhance their disaster preparedness education in the face of the escalating impact of emergencies and disasters.

The internationally recognised award offers students the chance become a youth leader in emergency management, gaining essential skills, connecting with like-minded peers, and bolstering access to higher education and job opportunities.

Australian Red Cross State Director Sarah Strathearn said the team collaborated with young people from around South Australia to co-design a unique program which teaches them the things they need to know about preparing for a range of disasters that they may face.

“We know young people want to be empowered with life skills that ensure their safety in the face of emergencies – something the Youth in Emergencies Development Program is designed to deliver,” Ms Strathearn said.

The CFS Director of Community Risk and Resilience, Alison May added that the CFS has a strong history of working with young people to build resilience in emergencies.

“We look forward to collaborating in providing learning opportunities and getting to know future leaders in emergency management through this important project,” Ms May said.

Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services Joe Szakacs said he is delighted to see the sector engaging young people to help them take control of their future.

“Our government is proud to support and fund initiatives that engage young people like YEDP. This program is a proactive step towards building a resilient community.

“By investing in their education and empowerment, we are fostering a generation that not only understands the challenges posed by emergencies but is also equipped to face them head-on,” said Minister Szakacs.

Applications for the Youth in Emergencies Development Program are now open to all South Australians enrolled in years 9-12. For more information, or to apply for the program visit:

For parents seeking to empower their children with life skills and ensure their safety in the face of emergencies, the YEDP offers a comprehensive and unparalleled experience. For more information, or to apply for the program visit:

This project was funded under the Disaster Risk Reduction Grants Program funded by the Australian Government and the South Australian Government.

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