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Nov. 4 , 2005
CONTACT: Abby Palmer
734.487.4400
apalmer2@emich.edu

EMU center gets homeland security grant to train high school emergency responders

YPSILANTI - Eastern Michigan University’s Center for Regional and National Security (CeRNS) has been given $968,632 by the Department of Homeland Security to train Michigan high school students to be first responders in an emergency.

“This is the largest lump sum grant that CeRNS has received,” said Tony Martin, administrative director of CeRNS.

“These training programs will raise substantially the ability of our first responders, public officials and citizens to meet the challenges we face as a Nation to prevent, respond, and recover from terrorist events and natural disasters,” said Matt A. Mayer, acting executive director of the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness.

EMU’s grant is part of a $30 million in competitive package that was awared to 15 organizations for training initiatives. More than 265 organizations applied for the grants.

“This is a direct result of our pilot program at Milan High School,” said Gerald “Skip” Lawver, who helped establish CeRNS at EMU. “School Superintendent Dennis M. McComb, Principal Ron Reed; Assistant Principal Leanna Soltis, School Liaison Officer Mike Couture, Milan School Board and students at Milan bought into the concept and made it
work.” Milan’s program, called Teen CERT, began last year and was supported by Gary Zulinski from Michigan Citizens Corps, which provided the seed money for the pilot project.

Lawver said the new grant will use EMU emergency management students to train school resource officers, who in turn will train students. Lawver said that he hopes the program will go to 20 intermediate school districts (ISD) throughout the state and will reach about 4,000 students over the course of the two-year grant.

The Office of Domestic Preparedness grant application was supported by the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators, Milan Area Schools, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Michigan State Police, and the Michigan Community Service Commission. Without their support this grant would have been very difficult to obtain, said Lawver.

“We want this to become second nature, just like ‘Stop, drop and roll,’ Lawver said, referring to the fire safety program taught in schools. “Our hope is to try and develop disaster resistant, schools, students and families.”

Lawver said it’s a win-win situation for school districts because they will receive $10,000 to continue the program after the initial training. Each school district also will receive CPR mannequins and a difibrilator. Students who are selected for the program will receive training and a disaster back pack.

More importantly, Lawver said the program helps students improve their self image, character, task completion and teaches to put others first.

This training gives students a choice, Martin said.

“This training gives them the ability to help if they want to,” said Martin. “Our goal is to provide the training for people to help themselves and others.”

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their careers and lives, and to be better citizens.

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their careers and lives, and to be better citizens.

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Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.

Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.


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