Salt Lake Community College’s South City Campus hosted an evacuation drill on Tuesday, July 2.
Faculty, staff and students were filed out to designated locations. The exercise demonstrates safety procedures and helps people prepare for a future emergency.
Among those taking part in the drill were members of the Campus Emergency Response Team, an extension of the Community Emergency Response Team, both using the same acronym of CERT.
CERT members take classes and go through training exercises in fire safety, triage medical care, light search and rescue, and other situations. There is a CERT team for every SLCC campus, and each team is tailored to that location.
In an emergency, CERT members can be spotted wearing safety vests. Composed of staff and faculty, crews have assigned roles in site administration, communications, damage assessment, and disaster medical to boost the efficiency of what can be done before, and during, a crisis.
“For a campus that’s very large, you have different components that are needed,” says Josh Elstein, program manager at South City Campus.
Elstein notes that a team comprised of multiple roles helps keeps things progressing in an orderly manner and gives the CERT teams opportunities to support areas where they are most suitable.
“The idea is that, in an emergency, the CERT team is in place for an immediate response somewhere on campus. If there was an emergency, you’d have people here,” says Elstein. “We work the emergency services at SLCC and the emergency response departments like fire and police.”
CERT plays an active role for other staff and faculty as well, not just students. With special training and optional bonus skills, they are more equipped for various tasks.
“[CERT] has the most up-to-date safety instructions,” says Cheer Mackay, coordinator for Student Services. “They’re just prepared to instruct us [on] what to do and where to go. It’s their job to interact with us and make sure we’re following protocol.”
In order to be reliable to students and staff, CERT teams have a variety of supplies in a to-go kit. Items include water purification tablets, dust masks and batteries, allowing them to perform in a variety of situations.
Students can’t operate on a campus CERT team; however, they can still be prepared for community emergencies by completing a FEMA training course.
More information on the CERT program can be found on the SLCC website under emergency preparedness.