St. Louis Community College is one of several two-year institutions nationally selected as a training hub for the Community College Citizen Preparedness Program.
The goal of this national program, called 3CP2, is to train a minimum of 500,000 citizens through the nation’s community colleges on specific protection actions to save lives and minimize injuries after a disaster and before the arrival of first responders.
As a hub college, STLCC will be responsible for delivering the training courses that will enhance the existing emergency preparedness planning process throughout the STLCC service area.
The 3CP2 Hub Partnership for Environmental Technology Education is an initiative between the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Citizen Corps and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to promote and improve community emergency preparedness, disaster response training for the public and volunteer service. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, community colleges currently credential approximately 80 percent of first responders and 60 percent of health-care professionals.
Robert Stewart, STLCC’s acting district chief of police and director of emergency preparedness, and Paul Banta, campus police chief at STLCC-Meramec, will participate in a “train the trainer” program in August at Monroe Community College. Monroe was one of five community colleges that led the formation of the AACC’s Homeland Security Action Team in 2005. This training subsequently will be offered in the St. Louis area through the STLCC Workforce Solutions Group’s continuing education division.
A 2007 American Red Cross study reveals that 93 percent of Americans are not prepared for a natural disaster or pandemic event. If training was easily accessible, according to this study, another 82 percent indicated that they would like to be better prepared. Additionally, the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (2004) reported that while citizens rely on emergency responders, less than one percent of the U.S. population is a first responder, indicating citizens will need to learn to survive until first responders can reach them. According to a 2004 article in USA Today, special populations are particularly under-prepared.
The target audiences for the 3CP2 training are the community college students, faculty, employees and their families. In addition, local businesses, community organizations and governments served by the local community college will be targeted.
Officials believe 3CP2 will make individuals and communities aware of their responsibility to be prepared for a natural, man-made or technological event since emergency personnel will likely be delayed in responding. The program will address the information and training resources available to help citizens prepare their homes and families, and will refer them to opportunities for further involvement.