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Undergrads practice their passion in community engagement and preparedness

| Academic & Student Affairs, COPH Home Page Feed, Global Health, Monday Letter, Take Note!, Undergraduate

Over the course of the next six weeks, students in the USF College of Public Health‘s Homeland Security & Preparedness course will explore their practice, their passion by participating in five hands-on simulations with lessons in 1.) Fire suppression, 2.) Basic disaster medical operations & triage 3.) Urban search & rescue, 4.) Disaster psychology, and 5.) Hazardous materials & terrorism.

At the conclusion of the classroom sessions, the students put their response skills and preparation to the test by participating in a mock simulation of a disaster scenario.

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Upon the successful completion of key topic areas, the students receive an official FEMA certificate for completing the hours needed for Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training from the Temple Terrace Fire Department.  With this credential, students have the training necessary to volunteer with any CERT in the nation, can attend free disaster exercises provided by the government and FEMA, and can work with various activities, events, and exercises that Temple Terrace & Tampa Fire Departments hold throughout the year.

Mr. Phillip Armiger, division chief of operations for the Temple Terrace Fire Department, generously provided 27 CERT Pro-pack personal preparedness & response rescue kits. These kits include gear needed to safely respond if a disaster situation were to occur in their neighborhood. Students were provided items such as safety helmets and vests, gloves, hazmat decontamination suits, medial triage tape, flares, first aid packs, and more.


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“The students are eager to expand the training and hope to develop a campus-wide USF CERT team,” said Elizabeth A. Dunn, MPH, CPH, an adjunct instructor for the Homeland Security & Preparedness course.

Most recently, students in the class used their safety gear for the first time during a hands-on exercise in fire suppression and how to safely put out a small fire with the use of a fire extinguisher.


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The USF College of Public Health is the first accredited college to offer a bachelor of public health degree in Florida. The Office of Undergraduate Studies serves as the academic home to more than 800 students pursuing a certificate, minor, or major in public health. Most recently, the college launched a bachelor’s degree that can be completed partially online.

To learn more about the college’s degree and certificate programs in public health preparedness, visit the Department of Global Health and Office of Undergraduate Studies.