Monday, December 1, 2014


This October MTCC hosted its first Disaster Institute in Billings, Montana, hosted by Rocky Mountain College. We partnered with American Red Cross of Montana (ARCMT), the Montana Department of Emergency Services (DES), the Governor's Office of Community Service (OCS) to train 40 participants from across our wonderful state of Montana. We were excited to collaborate with these agencies in order to help our communities learn valuable lessons on disaster preparedness.

ARCMT  participants during the Shelter Management Simulation
Institute participants came from different areas and backgrounds to receive training in Red Cross certifications and Montana State DES Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training. Participants ranged from community members to department heads within the Compact affiliate colleges and universities.

Of the forty participants, twenty seven received certification in Department of Emergency Services CERT which included topics on Active Shooter, Fire Safety, Communication and Amateur Radio, and Disaster Psychology.

The other thir participants received American Red Cross certification in Emergency Shelter Management, International Humanitarian Law, and Psychological First Aid.

Our participants came from 2 year colleges, 4 year and Universities, tribal colleges, and different Montana communities. Our tribal colleges included: Aaniiih Nakoda College on the Fort Belknap Reservation; Blackfeet Community College on the Blackfeet Reservation; and Little Big Horn College on the Crow Reservation. There were also members of these tribal communities in attendance.

Our 2-year institution in attendance was  Helena College while our 4-year and universities were: Montana Tech, the University of Montana, Montana State University, MSU-Northern, MSU-Billings, and Rocky Mountain College.

Disaster Institute participants gained new skills in competencies in supporting either the American Red Cross of Montana or Department of Emergency Services and Community Emergency Response Team; as well as, a greater understanding of the roles colleges and higher education play in disaster preparedness. Many of our participants learned how Montana Campus Compact helps further civic engagement on college campuses and helps them establish and deepen partnerships with their communities. Participants also built up a great network of colleagues to draw on in the future and we hope to see some "good faith" effort put in to build up their communities and campuses first responders and disaster preparedness volunteers!

Big thanks to our event sponsors: The Corporation for National and Community Service, City Brew Coffee, The Montana Office of Community Service, Rocky Mountain College and to Jill Washburn, Rocky's community service coordinator and a tireless voice for disaster preparedness.