Northwestern to offer new training aimed at bolstering emergency preparedness

Adrian Wan, Reporter

Following in a hoax call from a man claiming to have shot his girlfriend in a University residential building that resulted in an Evanston campus lockdown Wednesday afternoon, Northwestern will hold new training sessions aimed at enhancing emergency preparedness, according to a Thursday news release.

The Community Emergency Response Team program, now entering its fifth year, will offer new training sessions in basic disaster response skills, ranging from fire safety and suppression to active shooter and extreme violence awareness. The program began at Northwestern in 2014 as a partnership between NU’s Department of Safety & Security and the Evanston Fire Department, according to a news release.

While any student, faculty and staff at the University is eligible to apply for the program, CERT will select 20 participants this year, who will receive an initial 20 hours of training coordinated by “experienced” instructors in the first responder and emergency management fields, according to the release.

The release said the CERT program is a way to involve students, faculty and staff in increasing the preparedness of Northwestern, and that the program is designed to increase the number of people who are trained and educated.

Evanston has also hosted a CERT program to educate community members to better prepare for “hazards that may impact their area,” according to the city’s website. If necessary, the University’s and the city’s teams will collaborate to deal with potential incidents that occur in the area, according to the release.

“CERT programs operate within the community like good Samaritans to provide support to first responders,” Greg Klaiber, director of emergency management with Northwestern’s Department of Safety & Security, said in the release. “These volunteers are not meant to replace the University’s emergency response operations, but rather to serve as an important supplement to them.”

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