SDSU creates first campus emergency response team

Posted at 6:13 AM, Sep 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-06 09:13:40-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - As Florida braces for Hurricane Irma and Houston recovers from Harvey, natural disasters are top of mind for many. For emergency services staff at San Diego State University, the issue is always top of mind.

Last year, the school created a new position to oversee all emergency services. Lamine Secka, former campus chief of police, got the job.

"We have an emergency operations plan for the campus already, and a lot of that is updating those plans on an annual or as-needed basis. But then trying to bring forward new programs, new training we haven't done in the past."

Most recently he created SDSU's first Campus Emergency Response Team, also known as CERT. The training program is used by colleges and universities throughout the nation to prepare members of campus communities to respond during times of disaster or major incidents.

So far the team has 19 members and it will eventually grow to around 80.

"With everything going on in the world today I wanted to make sure I know how to take care of myself and people around me," said Mary Bell, one of the team members. "If something happens, I have an idea of what to do and where to go."

They're trained on disaster medical response, light search and rescue, disaster psychology and triage and treatment of victims.

The team isn't meant to replace fire and police, but rather help them, like assisting in evacuations or setting up temporary shelters.

San Diego County has a Community Emergency Response Team which community members can volunteer for.

FEMA also provides resources to bring CERT training to workplaces.