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The Early Responders Distance Learning Center


The Early Responders Distance Learning Center (ERDLC) of Saint Joseph's University was founded in the autumn of 1999 in response to the Nunn-Lugar-Domenici Act with the mission of providing state of the art and accredited training for emergency responders to Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and terrorist incidents. ERDLC is partially funded through congressional appropriations directed to facilitate cross-agency cooperation and involvement at the Federal, State, and Local government levels.

ERDLC sees its mission as being passionately committed to using its diverse talents and resources in creating state of the art distance learning content and delivery embedded in psychological science to aid and strengthen our nation's emergency response community. This mission has allowed ERDLC to develop relationships with subject matter experts (SMEs) in the emergency response community and the combating terrorism (CbT) community.

ERDLC creates and administers accredited Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) courses for the Emergency Response Community on preparing for WMD and terrorist incidents with a specialized focus on psychological consequences. In the past five years, ERDLC has developed online courses that focus on port security, food security, and combating agro-terrorism.

ERDLC creates and administers Continuing Education Credits for Mental Health Professionals through the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Association for Social Workers (NASW). The ERDLC is also certified for offering additional Continuing Education Credits through the International Association for Continuing Education Training (IACET).

ERDLC is currently involved in two projects with the federal government under the direction of the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG): Combating Terrorism (CbT) Port Security II and Web-based Scenario Application Training for Port Stakeholders. Furthermore, TSWG has directed ERDLC to create and implement a Virtual University to deliver and administer web-based ADL courses in complete SCORM compliance.

Future ERDLC projects include a pre-bachelor's, post-bachelor's, pre-master's, and post-master's accredited certificate program from Saint Joseph's University in the Psychological Aspects of Homeland Defense, Food Protection and Security, Crisis Management, Food Protection, and Advanced Crisis Management.

ERDLC's Logo


Our primary mission of providing state of the art training for emergency responders to WMD/terrorist incidents provides the basis for the new symbol of the ERDLC. The shield, a traditional icon used in both academic and emergency response communities, symbolizes our simultaneous goals of providing strength, comfort, and protection.

The overlapping shields indicate a major purpose of the ERDLC, "protecting the protectors," through education and training. Further, by vertically splitting the four diamonds of the front shield in overlapping fields of red and white, we symbolize how the effects of terrorism impact us both above and beneath the surface.