Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

Program Overview

The Tennessee State University – Campus Emergency Response Team, TSU-CERT, was developed out of a need to have a well-trained volunteer emergency work force to assist the univeristy during a disaster or other emergency on campus. TSU-CERT is modeled after the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA Community Emergency Response Team, CERT, certified course.

When emergencies happen TSU-CERT members may be counted on to provide critical support to the TSU community and first responders such as the Incident Management Team and Campus Safety. In the immediate aftermath of a disaster, needs may be greater than professional emergency services personnel can provide. In these instances, TSU-CERTs become a vital link in the emergency service chain.

After completing the basic CERT training, team members may assist with TSU Damage Assessment Team, Search and Rescue, Medical, or the Incident Management Team. These teams meet regularly to practice their skills and refresh their knowledge. Joining a team is not mandatory but will be greatly appreciated by all.

TSU-CERT Support Teams

“DAT” Damage Assessment

The TSU Damage Assessment Team is responsible for University maintenance and utilities during emergencies. These team members may be comprised of facilities & maintenance staff. Additional training for this team includes damage assessment, hazmat spill response, advanced PPE and safety, and other training specific to the duties of the team. DAT meet regularly to discuss emergency procedures and review action plans with additional training conducted throughout the year. Team duties during an emergency may include:

  • Damage assessment of facilities and buildings
  • Turning on/off utilities
  • Repair and recovery of building heating and cooling systems
  • Spill response
  • Moving, lifting of heavy objects
  • Debris clean up

“SAR” Search and Rescue

The TSU Search and Rescue Team may be activated after an emergency when there is a possibility that someone is trapped or stuck in a building or under debris. This team is comprised of trained volunteers who search buildings and assist victims who are unable to evacuate on their own. Additional training for the SAR may include CPR/AED and first aid, damage assessment and advanced search and rescue techniques, SARs meet regularly to practice their skills. Duties of the SAR during an emergency may include:

  • Damage assessment
  • Building search
  • Victim assistance
  • Medical treatment
  • Cribbing

“MED” Medical Team

The TSU Medical Team may assist those in need of minor medical treatment during an emergency in the event local emergency personnel are delayed. This team may oversee the TSU Student Emergency Response Team (SERT). MED and SERT members may work together to aid the University community when there is a need for medical assistance. Additional training for this team include CPR/AED and first aid, advanced first aid or medical first responder (optional), and other workshops and sessions appropriate for duties of this team. Duties of the MED team during an emergency may include:

  • Conduct and record initial medical assessments
  • Administer first aid and medical treatment
  • Conduct rapid assessment (triage)
  • Set up and manage treatment area(s)
  • Maintain records of treatment

 “IMT” Incident Management Team

The Incident Management Team is the lead emergency response team for Tennessee State University. This team uses the Incident Command System and assigns Command and Section Leaders to lead the campus emergency response effort. IMT has one lead position (Incident Commander), three Command positions (Public Information Officer, Safety Officer and Liaison), four Section leaders (Administration/Finance, Logistics, Operations and Planning/Intelligence) and two auxiliary groups (Student Manager and Staff Manager). These positions work out of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to gather incident information, create emergency actions plans and respond to event. TSU-CERT groups and members work under the direction of the IMT. Training for this group may include: Incident Command System (ICS) and the California Standardized Emergency Management System and National Incident Management System (SEMS/NIMS) courses, periodic drills and other training as appropriate. Duties of IMT during an emergency may include:

  • Activation of the Emergency Operations Center
  • Notification and activation of response team members
  • Deployment of response team (e.g. SAR, DAT and other response groups)
  • Verification and release of incident information
  • Update TSU  community regarding emergency or incident
  • Activation of Emergency Plans (e.g. Shelter-in-Place, Evacuate)
  • Coordination of additional resources needed for incident




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