Community Members Train to Become First Responders
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 02:09
Georgetown University’s Campus Community Emergency Response Team plans to train an additional 40 students and faculty in disaster response methods next month.
Launched in July 2010, the C-CERT program is managed by Georgetown’s Department of Emergency Management and Operational Continuity and is sponsored by the Emergency Management for Higher Education Grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
“This program is specifically designed to create individual and community resilience at the citizen level,” DEMOC Director Whit Chaiyabhat wrote in an email. “To date, we have trained approximately 187 Georgetown University C-CERT members.”
After completing the course, C-CERT members will offer support to professional first responders, such as the Department of Public Safety and Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service.
“Our plan for C-CERT is [to offer] a logistical support role to Georgetown’s established emergency response organizations, such as DPS, GERMS ... and our safety and environmental management response experts,” Chaiyabhat wrote.
Training sessions will be held in October and span three days.
David Lizza (COL ’15) completed C-CERT training last February and is now a certified member of the program.
“I was open during the time slots that they had the certification, and so I decided to do the training because I like emergency preparedness,” Lizza said. “I think I’m more prepared than before.”
Unlike GERMS, which requires a semester-long training course, C-CERT provides only a general overview of disaster relief skills.
“GERMS is more of a specific skill set than C-CERT,” Brian Monahan (COL ’15), a member of both C-CERT and GERMS, said. “You don’t have to be in GERMS to take C-CERT. C-CERT is just a general broad overview. They cover different aspects of emergency management.”
This year, DEMOC aims to expand its members’ role on campus.
“We ... are constantly seeking ways to engage our trained C-CERT members and provide them [with] useful training opportunities,” Chaiyabhat wrote. “On campus, we are working to integrate the use of Georgetown’s C-CERT volunteers for major special events requiring additional logistics support and personnel.”
This summer, Georgetown organized its second CERT CON 2012, a training conference for CERT volunteers in the Washington, D.C., area that included lectures and a simulated disaster scenario — a backpack bomb explosion on campus.
During the simulation, GERMS members both acted as patients and worked alongside CERT volunteers to respond to the simulated disaster.
“The purpose of having GERMS there was so the [C-CERT members] could see how the patients were dealt with from a medical aspect,” GERMS President and CERT CON participant Taylor Miller (SFS ’13) said. “From our standpoint, we had some good feedback for them, and I think it helped a lot. I think there was a sense of constructive feedback on both sides.”
Monahan and Lizza both recommended the C-CERT course to interested students and faculty.
“Anyone interested in [making] Georgetown a better place as far as safety goes or anyone who is interested in disaster relief would totally enjoy this experience because of the training involved and the activities afterward,” Lizza said.