SUNY New Paltz's Inaugural Community Emergency Response Team with President Donald P. Christian at their graduation ceremony in April 2015.
In spring 2013, SUNY University Police Chief David Dugatkin and Assistant Director of Fire Safety Scott Schulte entered into a joint venture to create a campuswide "Community Emergency Response Team" (CERT) whose purpose would be to assist emergency first responders at scenes of major incidents, emergencies, and disasters on the SUNY New Paltz Campus.
CERT teams were first developed and implemented in 1985 by the Los Angeles Fire Department and are now one of five federal programs promoted under the umbrella organization Citizen Corps, a program created by President George W. Bush, which falls under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and was created shortly after the 2001 terrorists attacks in the U.S.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), CERT is about readiness, people helping people, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number. CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens will be initially on their own and their actions can make a difference. Through training, citizens can manage utilities and put out small fires; treat the three killers by opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating for shock; provide basic medical aid; search for and rescue victims safely; and organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective.
Additional information about CERTs can be learned by clicking here.
In order to join the SUNY New Paltz CERT, participants must attend and pass a total of 21 hours of training, typically broken down into three-hour classes for seven weeks. They must also take and successfully pass a six-hour online independent study class entitled "IS-317: Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams." Participants can take this online class at their leisure, but must successfully complete it by the first night of classroom training. This online training is available here. There is no minimum or maximum age to join a CERT, nor are there any physical requirements. Participation is open to all SUNY New Paltz currently enrolled students, along with SUNY New Paltz faculty and staff.
Check back for 2016 training dates.
You can email your questions to SUNYCERT@newpaltz.edu.
Download and print out your application here. Further instruction will be found on the application.