Preparedness and Response – Community Style
All disasters are local.
As Superstorm Sandy made landfall in October 2012, community volunteers quickly came to the rescue of fellow citizens and supported Federal, state and local governments. Volunteers staffed Emergency Operation Centers (EOC), assisted in search and rescue missions, and provided operational support to various shelters.
Are you interested in helping your community response to the next Superstorm? Interested in promoting a culture of preparedness in your community? If so, a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program may be just the avenue for you!
CERT programs have been available across America for two decades. CERT, a program operated by a local emergency response organization such as your local Fire Department, trains citizens to respond to disasters when first responders are initially unavailable by educating them on basic disaster response skills. In addition, citizens assist with non-emergency projects such as the distribution/installation of smoke detectors or community gatherings such as a concert or a parade.
Citizens who volunteer join a 7-week Train the Trainer course. Interesting topics include Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Fire Suppression, Disaster Medical Operations, Light Search and Rescue Operations, Disaster Psychology and Team Organization, and a Disaster Simulation. After completing the course, citizens participate in yearly refresher courses and drills to practice the skills they learned and keep them current.
Be ready for the next local disaster and give back to your community at the same time. To identify a CERT program in your community or to learn about starting and maintaining a program, visit FEMA-CERT.