Campus hosts safety fair to inform, prepare students


Kayce Stevens / Hilltop Views

The safety fair addressed issues of disaster preparedness, fire safety and many others.

Kayce Stevens, Staff Writer

St. Edward’s hosted its fourth annual Hilltoppers Stand Strong Safety and Preparedness Fair last Tuesday, September 25. The main goal of the fair was to inform people of the basics of what to do in the event of an emergency or natural disaster including having a basic supply kit and a plan of how to communicate with family members. With September being National Preparedness Month, safety and preparedness fairs like this at St. Edward’s have been happening at many college campuses across the U.S.

The St. Edward’s Campus Community Emergency Response Team (C-CERT) hosted the fair that took place on Ragsdale lawn from 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. Other tables present at the fair included Public Health Emergency Preparedness Austin Disaster Relief, Share the Road, Texas Search and Rescue, SEU Health & Safety, SEU Office of Information Technology and representatives from the City of Austin addressing flash flood safety, weather and fires.

C-CERT is part of a national campaign supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and was officially formalized on St. Edward’s campus in 2008. The organization consists of all volunteers from staff, faculty and students. The organization is completely self-funded and receives many donations through faculty staff campaigns such as Love Blue Give Gold, an annual two-day online fundraising campaign for the university.

Dan McCoy, who is in his second year term as executive chairman of SEU C-CERT, explained that after an emergency happens, it typically takes FEMA five days to step in; learning safety and preparedness tips teaches people how to survive for those days. Being CERT trained or knowing basics of what to do in the event of an emergency is “like an insurance coverage,” McCoy says.

To join the SEU C-CERT program, a 20 to 25 hour basic training is administered that covers areas such as disaster preparedness, disaster psychology, fire suppression, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue and includes a disaster stimulation. Once certified, a backpack with basic equipment to respond to any emergency will be issued to you that is required to be kept it in your car or office on campus – once trained, you can use your certification anywhere in the nation.

The SEU C-CERT program is also offering CPR and first aid certification classes on campus. For those who are interested in either CERT or CPR and first aid certifications, contact Dan McCoy, executive chairman of the program, at [email protected].