ECU Hosts Campus Emergency Response Training
By Erica Plouffe Lazure
East Carolina University hosted the state’s first Campus Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training May 8 through May 10.
Sponsored by ECU’s Department of Health Education and Promotion, Michigan State University, and N.C. CERT, the training drew interest from 25 campus and public safety responders from across the region, including Peace College, Guilford College, ECU and UNC-Chapel Hill.
The three-day training showed participants how to tailor emergency response procedures to the specific needs of a campus environment through the CERT volunteer program.
Such concerns include transient populations, large groups of people, campus visitors, political activity, communication limitations, industrial hazards, pandemics, crime, special events and research facilities.
“A campus is like any other big neighborhood,” said C-CERT project coordinator Chuck Bouth. “It’s very important we have an organization that, when emergency response officials are overwhelmed, we can help them and take care of our own.”
Phil Schertzing from Michigan State University’s School of Criminal Justice led the sessions, which offered both hands-on disaster preparedness training and the skills to help people train others to become CERT volunteers on their campuses.
Neither Pitt County nor ECU has a CERT team, but Judith Taylor, a professor in ECU’s Department of Health Education and Promotion, said she hopes to lead a training in the near future for faculty, staff and students.
“Our department views CERT as a way to promote a culture of preparedness throughout our region,” Taylor said. “We hope to infuse CERT in our curricula, specifically through our community and environmental health programs.”
The training was sponsored by a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, The North Carolina Citizen Corps, the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management, and Pitt County Emergency Services. The program enables community members to help each other in a time of natural of man-made disaster.
A North Carolina CERT training session has been scheduled Aug. 8 through Aug. 10 in Greenville. Please contact Judy Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.