First group in Northwestern emergency response program completes training

Rebecca Savransky, Campus Editor

The first group of participants in Northwestern’s Community Emergency Response Team program completed their training earlier this month, giving them the skills to respond to campus and community crises.

There were 24 members in the first group, including student, staff and faculty representatives.

As part of their final training session held May 1, volunteers took part in several different exercises including search-and-rescue operations and extinguishing fires. The training was led by Evanston fire department officials.

“It’s been a very valuable program for us,” said Thomas Janetske, division chief for the department, in a news release.

Members involved received a certificate from the Federal Emergency Management Institute and from University Police when they graduated from the program after completing the final exercises.

Although the city has had CERT training since 2004 with citizen volunteers, the NU CERT program is a newer addition.

“Northwestern’s CERT program will be very valuable to the community, and their contribution to the town-gown partnership will be great,” Janetske said in the release.

The purpose of CERT is to equip individuals with the ability to respond to help when needed in emergency situations. The program is operated under the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizen Corps Council.

“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 UP, in the release.

Before being certified, members are trained in a variety of areas including basic disaster preparedness, fire suppression, medical operations and disaster psychology and team organization, among others.

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