Help Wesleyan Community, Build Camaraderie as C-CERT Member

On Aug. 3, members of Wesleyan's C-CERT organization helped erect a tent that could be used as a mobile hospital in the event of an emergency situation. The team constructed the mobile unit with guidance from Middletown Emergency Management and the Connecticut Department of Public Health

On Aug. 3, members of Wesleyan’s C-CERT organization helped erect a tent that could be used as a mobile hospital in the event of an emergency situation. The team constructed the mobile unit with guidance from Middletown Emergency Management and the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

This fall, Wesleyan’s Campus Community Emergency Response Team (C-CERT) is offering a free training course to any Wesleyan faculty, staff or student interested in helping the campus community. Formed in September 2009, Wesleyan’s C-CERT members are trained to assist first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, and organize volunteers at a disaster site.

The 20-hour program, which is supported by a grant from the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, includes sessions such as Disaster Preparedness, Fire Safety and Utility Controls, Disaster Medical Operations, Light Search and Rescue Operations, CERT Organization, Disaster Psychology, Terrorism and Disaster Simulation. All participants receive their own personal protective equipment (PPE) and must pass a final exam to be “CERT”tified.

“When you’re a member of C-CERT, you get to help others in a time of need, while enjoying a sense of camaraderie and community with your colleagues,” said Sherri Condon, accounting specialist for Auxiliary Operations and Campus Services. Condon joined the C-CERT group in March 2011.

Bill Nelligan, director of environmental services for Physical Plant-Facilities, and Joyce Walter, director of University Health Center, were the first Wesleyan employees to be certified by CERT in 2007. They’re now certified trainers themselves.

In the past eight years, Walter has offered training for radio communication, defensive driving/electric vehicles, hazmat, CPR, fire extinguisher training, incident command operation training, and psychological training for events. She also participated in three-day FEMA Incidents in Higher Education training. In February 2010, Walter was one of the C-CERT members who donated almost 100 hours of time at the deadly Kleen Energy power plant explosion in Middletown. Walter is currently the training coordinator for C-CERT.

“Folks should join CERT to learn how to, number one, protect themselves and family in the event of an emergency, and two, have the skills to aid others in your classes, departments, home and community. The skills learned are ones that everyone should acquire and practice,” she said.

During Winter Storm Nemo in 2013, the C-CERT team worked to inspect and clear all emergency exits near academic and administrative buildings. Pictured at left is Jennifer Curran.

During Winter Storm Nemo in 2013, the C-CERT team worked to inspect and clear all emergency exits near academic and administrative buildings. Pictured at left is Jennifer Curran.

Jen Curran, director of Continuing Studies and the Graduate Liberal Studies Program, joined the C-CERT organization in January 2013 and has since participated in “the great shovel-out of 2013,” patrolling senior move-out, traffic-support for a statewide CERT meeting on campus; bio-terrorism threat training with the City of Middletown, and a mobile medical facility tent raising this summer.

“I enjoy working with folks across campus and within the City and State’s emergency rescue structure and supporting the community,” Curran said. “We have great team spirit within the group, and frankly, it’s fun. I also like knowing that I can help, feeling prepared and feeling like there would be a role for me to be useful in an emergency.”

Wesleyan currently has about 30 members on its team. Anyone interested in attending the next C-CERT training should email Joyce Walter at jwalter@wesleyan.edu.

Read past News @ Wesleyan stories about C-CERT activities here.