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University of Miami ‘Canes Emergency Response Team: A look at an undergraduate disaster response team

Jonathan P. Meizoso, BS, David V. Shatz, MD, FACS, Keith G. Fletcher, MEd, Matthew V. Shpiner, BBA, Daniel Carvajal, BBA, Allison Ring, William Coffin, Michelle Pearlman, BS, Amy Pearlman, BS, Stephanie Ragland, Sean M. Murphy, NREMT-B, David Rivero, BPS, William Gerlach, MPA, John Pepper, CPP, VSP, John Tighe, BA


Through recurrent disasters, both natural and man-made, the US government has developed a sophisticated emergency and disaster response system, ranging from local to federal government responses. But in large-scale disasters, the number of professional responders and the response times may be inadequate both for the physical magnitude of the disaster area involved and the number of victims. With that experience in hand, the Los Angeles City Fire Department promoted the concept of citizen response and training in 1985, which is now known as the Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT). The CERT program seeks to educate the lay public in disaster preparedness and train volunteers in basic disaster response skills. Training has been made available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Emergency Management Institute, and the National Fire Academy ( These teams can be used to promote awareness programs in the community and to be readily available in the event of a local incident. Their proximity to the event and knowledge of the area can be a valuable asset both prior to and after the arrival of professional responders. But building such a team from scratch can be a daunting challenge. Known more for their football program, this article describes the system built by the undergraduate student body of the University of Miami Hurricanes.


university disaster response, campus security, undergraduate disaster response

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McAlister CN, Murray TJ, Lakosha H, et al.: The Halifax disaster (1917): Eye injuries and their care. Br J Ophthalmol. 2007; 91(6): 832-835.



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