Emergency Response Training Available for UK Employees

photo of C-CERT Training
Reza Akbari treats a "victim" during the simulated mass casualty exercise at Memorial Coliseum in 2016. Photo by Jesica Lopez-Huskey.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 31, 2017) – Scenes from the wrath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana are a reminder of the life-saving need of first responders in emergency situations.  An important part of emergency response is training citizens in basic disaster response skills. The University of Kentucky Police Department is offering that training this fall.

The mission of the UK Police Department’s Crisis Management and Preparedness (CMP) is to coordinate effective campus disaster preparedness and  an element of that is emergency response training for UK faculty and staff. With the support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the nationally recognized Campus Community Emergency Response Team (C-CERT) training will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for five consecutive Thursdays from Oct. 12 to Nov. 9 in The 90 on UK's campus.

"Hurricane Harvey is an important reminder that natural disasters can have devastating impacts on a community,” said UK Police Chief Joe Monroe. “Receiving training in emergency response is an invaluable opportunity we offer to UK faculty and staff in order to minimize the impacts of emergencies on the UK campus community, facilities and environment.”

UK faculty and staff are eligible to receive hands-on training in basic disaster response skills to help maintain a safe and secure campus. Participants learn a wide range of training including fire safety and suppression, light search and rescue, disaster medical operations, team organization, disaster psychology and terrorism. C-CERT members also receive a backpack equipped with emergency supplies to keep in their respective offices, vehicles or homes so that they have the tools they need in case of an emergency.

A critical component of C-CERT training involves participation in a simulated mass casualty exercise. The disaster response skills are practiced amidst chaos with actors wearing wound make-up to familiarize participants with the conditions they may face in a real incident.

Last year, the exercise simulated the aftermath of an explosion during a basketball game at Memorial Coliseum. There were numerous actors portraying victims with injuries ranging from shock and burns to broken bones and fatalities. As part of the exercise, C-CERT members assembled a team, assessed the situation, conducted search and rescue operations, performed triage in order to assess the severity of  injuries, and provided initial medical care while maintaining their personal safety. The final exercise concluded when professional responders arrived on scene and the C-CERT team leader provided an incident report with crucial information to the next on-scene commander.

Seyed Mohammdrez Akbari, also known as Reza, a visiting scholar in the Department of Agricultural Economics, received support from his department chair, Leigh Maynard, to attend the C-CERT class last fall. When Akbari witnessed a three car collision near Jacobson Park the following April, he immediately utilized the skills he learned from C-CERT training. He checked for gas leaks on an overturned car and assisted first responders by bandaging wounds.

“I introduced myself to an elderly couple in a vehicle and showed them my C-CERT card letting them know I was here to help,” Akbari said. “It was amazing to be able to help others and be a source of calm amidst chaos.”

Registration is now open for C-CERT training and will close once maximum capacity is reached. The training is free and open to regular full-time UK faculty and staff. Participants must obtain approval from their supervisor and complete an electronic background check. For more information, please visit the CMP website or contact Laurel Wood with CMP at 859-257-6655 or laurel.wood@uky.edu. To register, click here.


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