Berkeley firefighters have recruited a whole new crop of emergency first responders, said Deputy Chief Gil Dong.
They’re the 200-plus UC Berkeley residents of fraternities, sororities and co-ops who will receive training under a new program formally launched this week with funding from the Department of Homeland Security.
The $18,000 grant enabled the department to assemble six emergency equipment caches to be kept in the off-campus housing for use in major disasters, said the deputy chief.
In addition to the caches—which include gear ranging from hard hats and shovels to emergency generators and power cords—the program will also provide training in a variety of formats.
“We’ve teamed up with the American Red Cross to offer training online and through podcasts, and we’ll also come and offer the training in person if they give us a call,” said Dong.
Under terms of the agreement with UC Berkeley, 10 percent of the students in the designated off-campus housing will be required to take the training, and Dong said the innovative Berkeley program—the nation’s first—may soon be replicated across the country.
“I attended a meeting of the National Association of Fraternity Advisers in Cincinnati, and I was told they felt they needed to duplicate the program in each chapter across the country,” he said.
For Berkeley emergency workers, the promise of an extra crew of first responders could make a critical difference in the event of a major disaster—a good thing, Dong said, especially in light of this year’s 140th anniversary of the disastrous 1868 earthquake on the Hayward Fault.
Berkeley firefighters used the Jaws of Life to extract a man injured in a two-car accident Saturday at the intersection of Ashby Avenue and Ellis Street.
The accident happened when a passenger car broadsided a pickup, trapping the driver of the truck inside his vehicle.
After extraction, the injured man was rushed to the Highland Hospital emergency room for treatment of his injuries.