Community response classes planned
Rebecca James, Franklin County Times
The Franklin County Chapter of the Community Education Response Team (CERT) program is accepting applications for qualified persons to receive free training and equipment to become a CERT volunteer.
The CERT program is based on the model created by the Los Angeles City Fire Department after the earthquake in 1994.
Since that time, CERT'S have been established in hundreds of communities around the country.
CERT founders Dennis Sell and Roy Gober originally came up with the idea of creating a program for the Franklin County area a year ago.
"You never know when a disaster may strike," said Sell. "The CERT program teaches participants to assist others in emergency situations."
"We have been having monthly meetings since August in order to help us organize the program." said Sell. "Our four instructors are going for instructor certification in May. We hope to begin the classes sometime in May, June at the latest."
CERTs are designed to be the first level of emergency response when a disaster prevents medics or fire units from arriving on a scene. For example, in the event of a tornado, downed trees would delay emergency response crews, but a CERT in the area would be able to access the people in the affected area without crossing major roadways.
The course will be held for eight weeks with locations pending.
"Participants in the program will utilize what they have learned in this eight week period." Sell said "They will be trained in such things as first aid, search and rescue, and will also learn how to use ham radios for emergency situations."
Ham radios can also be beneficial in emergency situations.
"Our goal is to have more than one ham radio operator in any community with a volunteer fire department in case of a communication breakdown."
CERT training promotes a partnership between emergency services and the people they serve.
The goal is for emergency personnel to train members of the community in basic response skills.
Upon completion of the course, CERT members are integrated into the emergency response capability for their area.
"This is a wonderful program, we really needed something like this in this community." Sell said,
"Hopefully, participants will learn what to and what not to do in any emergency situation."
For more information on the CERT program, call 356-2552 or 331-9090. Applications for the classes are available at City Hall.