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Evan Summers
IU Interfraternity Council

Mark Brostoff
Indiana University

Last modified: Thursday, February 15, 2007

IU Greek Council students training to become a Community Emergency Response Team

The team will become the state's first team comprised solely of fraternity and sorority members

Feb. 15, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Twelve representatives from the Indiana University Junior Greek Council will become the state's first Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) comprised solely of members of the Greek Community. The fraternity and sorority members have begun a five-week, 21-hour training course designed to prepare them to offer needed assistance in the case of a natural or man-made disaster.

"Community Emergency Response Team training is all about neighbors helping neighbors," said Evan Summers, vice president of Interfraternity Council (IFC) Membership Development. "In case of a disaster, we're learning the correct techniques for search and rescue and disaster medical response so we can help without endangering ourselves."

John Hooker, Monroe County emergency manager, said the goal of CERT training is "for citizens to be able to take care of themselves in an emergency because first responders are so busy and inundated."

Funded by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, CERT training covers areas of emergency preparedness including fire safety, light search and rescue techniques, basic disaster medical operations, first aid, cribbing and the principles of disaster psychology. The largest portion of the training provides the students with the skills necessary to triage disaster victims, set wounds and provide basic disaster response.

"These students are not going to come out of this being a nurse or a doctor, but it gives them the basics to treat on-site before the professionals arrive," said Mark Brostoff, lead CERT trainer and an instructor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

The final class session ends with a practicum that puts the 12 IFC members' newly learned skills to use. The Bloomington Township Fire Department will light fires at its drill grounds so the students can practice extinguishing a fire, and there will be a mock disaster staged at one of the campus' 20 fraternity houses.

Offered free to IU's Greek community, the training is provided by the Monroe County Citizen Corps, the Monroe County Emergency Management Agency, CERT volunteers and the Bloomington Township Fire Department.