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Northwestern Launches Community Safety Program

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will boost preparedness

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January 14, 2014 | by Storer H. Rowley

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University will enhance its commitment to the safety and security of its students, faculty, staff and visitors this year with the creation of a University Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program training volunteers for the University. 

CERT is a national community preparedness program operated under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizen Corps Council. The local volunteer program being launched at Northwestern University is a partnership between the Emergency Services Division of University Police and Evanston Fire & Life Safety Services.

The CERT program is a way to involve students and staffers in serving the community and increasing the preparedness of individuals at Northwestern. CERT is designed to improve readiness, help people and serve the community through education, training and volunteer service.

The CERT program is a volunteer opportunity and training program for community members to help support preparedness activities, community welfare during major special events and organized community recovery efforts following a crisis.

“Throughout the country, states, counties and local jurisdictions including Evanston have developed and implemented CERT programs to enhance emergency preparedness and increase community education, awareness and outreach,” said Joseph Frascati, emergency preparedness manager for University Police.

“CERT programs operate within the community like good Samaritans to provide support to first responders,” Frascati said. “A CERT program is not intended to replace Northwestern University’s response capabilities, but rather to serve as an important supplement to them.”

CERT program members receive an initial 16 hours of training in basic disaster and emergency response skills from experienced and skilled instructors in the first responder and emergency management professions. Members of a CERT program are initially trained in:

  • Disaster preparedness
  • Disaster fire suppression
  • Disaster medical operations
  • Light search and rescue operations
  • Disaster psychology and team organization
  • Terrorism and the CERT program
  • Disaster exercises, drills and simulations
  • Principles of the Incident Command System and National Incident Management System
  • CPR and AED lifesaving skills
  • Extreme violence and active shooter awareness

The initial class is offered to any faculty, staff or student with the University and will be limited to 20 participants. Registration will close no later than March 15, 2014. Classes are scheduled for the following dates and times on the Evanston campus:

            April 3, 2014                       5 to 9 p.m.

            April 10, 2014                     5 to 9 p.m.

            April 17, 2014                     5 to 9 p.m.

            April 24, 2014                     5 to 9 p.m.

CERT was originally developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department in 1985. FEMA recognized the importance of the program and adopted and expanded the CERT program and materials to cover all hazards, from natural disasters to terrorist attacks.

For more information on the upcoming CERT training dates or registering for upcoming classes, contact Joseph Frascati, emergency preparedness manager with the Northwestern University Police Department at (847) 491-3065 or joe@northwestern.edu.

Or go to the University Police website on CERT.