Staff Complete Community Emergency Response Training

Staff Complete Community Emergency Response Training
Cal Poly Pomona staff participated in emergency preparedness training, emergency drills and table top exercises.
A group of Cal Poly Pomona staff and Pomona residents earned their certificates as members of the city's first Community Emergency Response Training team.

After 20 hours of emergency preparedness training, emergency drills and table top exercises, 17 graduates —  a combination of nine Cal Poly Pomona staff and eight Pomona residents — have earned their certificates as members of the city's first Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) team.

The university partnered with the city of Pomona and the Los Angeles County Fire department to establish a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) that would allow Cal Poly Pomonas trained staff and community members to work together during an emergency. The program offers Pomona residents and businesses free training courses designed to enable them to support their neighborhoods in the aftermath of a major disaster and to assist when emergency responders are overwhelmed or are delayed.

“We plan for emergencies in partnership with Pomona because we feel anything that impacts us will impact them,” says Emergency Services Coordinator Debbi McFall. “Disaster planning is much more successful in a team setting.”

Cal Poly Pomona staff who completed the training include: Dawn Burns, Vanessa Cangialosi, Jamie Depelteau, Denise Dlugajczyk, Katrina Eberly, Carolyn Forrester, Shane Hart, Therese Melbar and Tambra Williams. Other staff members who have one session to complete before graduating include Michael Brown, Ruem Malasarn, Olufunke Oluyemi, Julia Swartzendruber and Jacques Zalma.

Pomona Police Chief James Lewis and Cal Poly Pomona Police Chief Michael Guerin distributed diplomas at the graduation ceremony on Aug. 13. L.A. County Fire Battalion Chief Jim Enriquez was also on hand to celebrate the achievement.

“The CERT program will give participants the skills to support themselves and become the 'eyes and ears' of the community, which will be a tremendous assistance for the city when our resources are stretched,” says Pomona's Emergency Coordinator Carrie Cruz. “The partnership with Cal Poly Pomona is also a positive part of the program and enhances our resources, illustrating that disasters have no boundaries or jurisdictional limits.”

CERT members are trained in disaster preparedness, fire safety and suppression, disaster medical operations (triage), light search and rescue operations, terrorism, disaster psychology and team organization. The final session includes a hands-on training simulation where the participants put into practice the skills learned over the course of instruction during a simulated disaster.

Across the country, CERT programs have proven themselves to be an active and vital part of their communities' preparedness and response capability. For example, CERTs have been used to:

  • Distribute and/or install smoke alarms and batteries to the elderly and disabled.
  • Assist with evacuations and traffic control.
  • Promote community awareness of potential hazards and preparedness measures.
  • Supplement staffing at special events, such as parades.
  • Act as victims in training exercises.

On-going monthly training and disaster exercises are being planned to keep CERT members active and promote longevity in the program.

For more information on the universitys emergency planning or CERT, contact Debbi McFall at (909) 869-6981.