M. Chris Herring, executive director of the North Carolina Central University Institute for Homeland Security and Workforce Development, presented “Individual and Community Preparedness Campus Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs),” for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on May 8. The webinar was developed to highlight universities that currently have active CERT programs and included more than 600 agency and university participants.
Three universities were featured on the webinar and NCCU was the only Historically Black College and University highlighted. “The vision for an NCCU Campus CERT dates back to April 2011, when tornadoes hit Shaw University and NCCU students desired to respond to clean-up efforts,” said Herring. “Without proper campus-level organization and training, our ability to assist our sister HBCU, during their time of need, was limited.”
There are more than 2,000 local jurisdictions and dozens of college and university campuses across the country that has used the CERT model to prepare for disasters.
CERTs respond in the period immediately after a disaster when response resources are overwhelmed or delayed. CERTs are able to assist emergency services personnel, when requested, in accordance with standard operating procedures developed by the sponsoring agency and by area of training. CERTs assume some of the same functions as emergency services personnel following a disaster.
The NCCU Campus CERT serves the campus and surrounding Durham community with emergency services during the aftermath of a disaster. The team serves as a bridge between University Police and local emergency personnel who can respond to crisis situations when professional, emergency responses are delayed.
Leadership in the NCCU CERT program includes Sgt. Robert W McLaughlin, CERT coordinator; Dana-Hart Raynor, volunteer team leader; Dr. Harvey McMurray, chair, Department of Criminal Justice; Dr. Deborah Bailey, director, Academic Community Service Learning Program; Faye Stone, North Carolina Citizen Corps and Durham City and County first responders.
The webinar can be viewed at: http://www.ready.gov/individual-and-community-preparedness-webinar-series-campus-certs.