In the driveway, two students fight roaring flames with a fire extinguisher. In the garage, more students use a process called cribbing to save people trapped underneath debris. Meanwhile, next door more rescuers perform search and rescue operations and triage on victims. All this was a part of the final exam for Chapman University’s first Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) class.

Chapman students

Tyler Wimbish ’18 uses a fire extinguisher as a part of her final.

On Wednesday, May 10, a group of 27 students and faculty graduated from CERT program. For the faculty, it was the end of their training. But for the students, it was the end of a first-of-its-kind CERT class this past semester.

The CERT training was paired with a class on disaster policy, taught by Ann Gordon Ph.D., creating a unique educational experience. The first half of the class focused on disaster policy, such as how the US responded to Hurricane Katrina, and the second half focused on the CERT training.

The goal of the training and class was to have the students be able to prepare themselves for a disaster, so that in the event of one, the students can take care of themselves, freeing up resources to be used elsewhere, in addition to helping their neighbors, said Mark Davis, Chapman’s Fire & Life Safety Manager.

“It was fun and very informative,” said Tyler Wimbish ’18.

However, she knew that the fun was just a side benefit of the exercise. It was necessary.

“It’s needed as most people don’t know how to respond in a disaster … The more people that are trained, the better. It’s comforting,” she said.

Now with Chapman students able to see the big picture of disaster relief policy and perform the tasks of implementing it in our neighborhoods, Chapman and the Orange community are much better prepared should a disaster strike.