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Disaster Preparedness The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing

Community Emergency Response Team Training

As partners with the City of Austin in responding to disasters, a UT SON faculty member recently attended the City of Austin’s seven week long Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training program. The CERT program was developed to train community members on emergency preparedness. The training covers the following topics: personal disaster preparedness and disaster psychology, national weather service and storms, urban and wildfire suppression, terrorism, medical operations, and search and rescue. Once completing the course the trained volunteers are prepared to assist when disasters overwhelm the city’s existing emergency services.

Shalonda Horton, public health clinical instructor, recently completed the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training program. “The training served as a refresher for me and expanded my understanding of the flow of emergency services for the City of Austin. I think it is important to understand how the city manages disasters especially if we are to partner with them in case of a disaster. The training was thorough and worth the investment of community members’ time because it can help save lives”. You do not have to be a nurse or a healthcare professional in order to participate in the training. Some individuals have used the training to educate their communities (i.e. neighborhood associations).

The dates for the next CERT training program in 2008 are pending. The classes are one day a week starting at 6 pm and last for about 2-3 hours. Visit the CERT web site for more information, email Tiffany Taylor or call her at (512) 974-0477 to sign up for the classes.

Submitted November 14, 2007