Athens, Ga. – The first class of University of Georgia students and employees has completed the UGA Campus Emergency Response Team training program, which prepares non-emergency personnel to respond to emergencies on campus.
“The UGA CERT program trains non-emergency personnel to be able to think and act in a way that helps not only themselves, but also their community and the first-responders during a crisis,” said Steve Harris, director the Office of Security and Emergency Preparedness, which administered the classes with the Athens-Clarke County Fire Department.
The seven-week program, which is open free to UGA faculty, staff and students, teaches fundamental disaster response skills and practices. Through weekly 2.5-hour meetings, participants learn about fire safety, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, disaster psychology, terrorism preparedness and basic first aid. In addition to learning from professionals, class members receive hands-on training in disaster scenarios.
The next class begins Feb. 4. The deadline to register for the class is Jan. 30. Participants can register online at http://www.osep.uga.edu/CERT/.
“The program is so that emergency workers, such as EMTs and people like that, can call on us. We’re not to be the first-responders at any time,” said Stephen Rogers, assistant area coordinator for University Housing and program participant.
“If you’re in your neighborhood and something happens, well, you’re already there. You could help out before the first responders come if you’re needed. If something happens across campus, you’re probably not going to go over there.”
In addition, the training helps with peace of mind in a crisis, he said.
“You will come away with an experience that you’ll better prepare yourself and your family and you’ll also be able to help others,” he said. “It will help you prepare your own family for an emergency so if that if you do have to help out, you know your family is taken care of before you go out and try to help the community.”
Graduates of the UGA CERT Program will have the opportunity to participate as a volunteer in emergency exercises, special events, drills, advanced training and potential large-scale emergency responses in order to better prepare the campus and community for disasters.