Northwestern creates emergency response team

Rebecca Savransky, Assistant Campus Editor

A new community safety initiative will train volunteers to serve on an emergency response team, Northwestern announced Tuesday.

NU will join a national emergency preparedness program called the Community Emergency Response Team. Volunteers will be trained in a wide range of topics including fire suppression, disaster drills and search and rescue operations. Training for the program requires 16 hours of instruction and is taught by first responders and emergency management professionals.

Joseph Frascati, emergency preparedness manager for University Police, said in a news release CERT programs are being developed worldwide in an effort to increase emergency preparedness.

“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.”

The initial class will be limited to 20 students. Any NU student, staff or faculty member can apply.

UP Deputy Chief Dan McAleer said CERT members will help with tasks that don’t necessarily need a trained police officer or firefighter.

“We hope to be able to utilize those trained CERT team members to help us with community events and any kind of disasters that may occur that we may need additional staffing to help bring about recovery for that particular instance or disaster,” he said.

McAleer said the class will begin April 3 and meet four times for four hours each.

The team stemmed out of a partnership between the Emergency Services Division of University Police and Evanston Fire & Life Safety Services and is run under the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizen Corps Council. Since its development by the Los Angeles City Fire Department in 1985, the program has been expanded to include education on a wider array of disaster response.

Tyler Pager contributed reporting.

This story has been updated to add comments from University Police Deputy Chief Dan McAleer.

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