Written by Jack Meltzer
Beginning Jan. 26, Eastern's Office of Environmental Health and Safety hosted a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program, which provides special training for individuals to prepare for, respond to and recover from a major emergency or disaster situation until other assistance arrives. Eastern is the first university in the Connecticut State University System (CSUS) to host the program, which was first developed by the Department of Homeland Security and is currently being used throughout the United States.
"CERT is about readiness, people helping people, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number," said environmental health and safety coordinator Eric Germain. "In the event of a major disaster, first responders who provide fire and medical services will not always be able to meet all the demands for services,"
During the ceremony, participants will simulate what they have learned in class. They will practice the skills used to rescue people who are trapped under debris. During this simulation, a mannequin will be placed under debris and participants will lift the materials through the techniques they learned.
The classes included 23 hours of hands-on training in disaster survival and rescue skills. Participants learned home and work safety, cribbing, search and rescue, basic fire suppression, disaster psychology and more.
In addition, students learned disaster preparedness, which addressed hazards to which people are vulnerable in their community; disaster fire suppression, which covered chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards and fire suppression strategies; disaster medical operations, where participants practiced diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques; and disaster medical operations, where students evaluated patients by doing a head-to-toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment and performing first aid.
Students also were taught light and rescue operations, where participants learned about search and rescue planning, rescue techniques, and rescue safety; and disaster psychology and team organization, which covered signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and worker.