Disaster response training students to put know-how to the test

February 20, 2015

Harper College's first cohort of CERT (Community Emergency Response Training) team students will put their new knowhow to the test on Monday, Feb. 23, with a series of mock disaster scenarios.

The drill will serve as a final exam for the students, who run the gamut from a young, budding firefighter to retirees looking to serve their community. They'll work in teams of four throughout the 90-minute practicum, which includes fighting a live fire, assessing and treating injured "patients," removing a steel plate from a victim and conducting a systematic search and rescue of a building.

"It's important for everyone to show they can take what they've learned and put it into action," said Ed Kemper, volunteer coordinator with the Palatine Emergency Management Agency.

Harper partnered with the Palatine Fire Department to offer the seven-session course, which is designed to help citizens protect themselves, their families and their neighbors in emergency and disaster situations. Nearly 20 students have been coming to the College's Palatine campus each week, many with the intent of moving on to volunteer for PEMA or a similar organization. They'll receive a FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Certificate of Graduation upon successful completion.

Due to its popularity, the CERT class will be offered again later in the spring through Harper's Continuing Education department.

Media note: Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend the practicum. For more information, please contact Kim Pohl, Media Relations Manager, 847.925.6159.