The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) concept was initially developed for civilians to be able to meet their immediate needs in times of disaster, to be better prepared and to help minimize loss of life when disasters do occur. CERT started in LA in 1985 after 100 spontaneous responders were killed in the Mexico City earthquake when they were trying to give aid and assistance. The Los Angeles Fire Department believed with this training in CERT that they would have been able to realize life threatening situations and would have been able to avoid putting themselves in danger.
CERTs serve as a tool for building community capacity, resilience, and self-sufficiency by supporting and providing the basic tools of knowledge to a diverse group of people who can come together and dealing with challenges affecting their communities. Since 1993 this training has been available nationally by FEMA to provide support to first responders in an overwhelming situation and to better prepare civilians.
Our goal for our USF CERT is to engage college students, faculty, staff and local community members in CERT training to help them develop the skills needed that will allow them to keep themselves safe, to help support their community in times of disaster, and build a culture of preparedness on our campus. We are able to use this platform to build future leaders for communities they plan to work, play and live throughout their lifespan.
This past weekend we trained 31 new USF CERT members in lifesaving skills and we are on track to having a well rounded and dynamic team this year. From starting a new USF Medical CERT branch, to engaging more with the local Health Department and students from the USF ROTC program on our leadership board. We have trained more graduate-level students then any other year prior and one of the most diverse classes ever with new members from Poland, The Netherlands, Nicaragua, China, Togo, India, Saudi Arabia, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and Venezuela to name a few.
We would like to welcome the newest members of our USF CERT! Congratulations and thank you for taking the time to train for three days straight and show the enthusiasm we like to see in a team that is dedicated to serving others and our community.