The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.
In response to the events of September 11, 2001 and the flash flooding in Keith County in July, 2002, Keith County organized a “Citizens Corps.” This group helps coordinate volunteers to prepare for and respond to local emergencies. The group is trained as volunteers to make our community safer, stronger and better prepared to respond to emergencies and disasters of all kinds, including threats of terrorism, natural disasters, crime, public health and others. Citizen Corps will be important during major disasters when first responders may be initially overwhelmed.
The Citizen Corps mission is to tailor activities to the community and build on community strengths to develop and implement a local strategy of having every American participate through:
Personal Responsibility. Developing a household preparedness plan and disaster supplies kits, observing home health and safety practices, implementing disaster mitigation measures, and participating in fire/crime prevention and reporting.
Training. Taking classes in emergency preparedness, response capabilities, first aid, CPR, fire suppression, and search and rescue procedures.
Volunteer Service. Engaging individuals in volunteer activities that support first responders, disaster relief groups, and community safety organizations.
Over 40 persons have received CERT training since the program began in mid-2000.
CERT Training will teach participants to:
- Describe the types of hazards most likely to affect their homes and communities.
- Describe the function of CERT and their roles in immediate response.
- Take steps to prepare themselves for a disaster.
- Identify and reduce potential fire hazards in their homes and workplaces.
- Work as a team to apply basic fire suppression strategies, resources and safety measures to extinguish a burning liquid.
- Apply techniques for opening airways, controlling bleeding and treating shock.
- Conduct triage under simulated conditions.
- Perform head-to-toe assessments.
- Select and set up a treatment area.
- Employ basic treatments for various wounds.
- Identify planning and size-up requirements for potential search and rescue situations.
- Describe the most common techniques for searching a structure.
- Use safe techniques for debris removal and victim extrication.
- Describe ways to protect rescuers during search and rescue.
Why You Should Get Involved
- Having citizens who are better prepared to take care of themselves and others during times of crisis allows first responders (law enforcement, fire, emergency medical) to focus their efforts on the most critical, life-threatening situations. Everyone can do something to support local first responders.
- There are many tasks that a well-trained, organized group of citizen volunteers can perform, such as:
- During times of heightened national security alerts, assist in planning for quick access to emergency supplies, shelter readiness and procedures review.
- Assist with hard-to-reach, at-risk audiences to improve safety (e.g. senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, transportation, etc.)
- Assist with opening and managing a shelter for victims of disaster.
- Assist with providing meals for those victims displaced by a disaster or emergency.
- Assist with providing support for families victimized by a fire or major crime.
- Provide ongoing help to families involved in an emergency or disaster.
- Provide volunteer labor to disaster victims (e.g. debris cleanup, basic structure repair, etc.)
- Complete Community Emergency Response Team training to be able to help neighbors prepare for and cope with the effects of a major emergency or disaster.
- Coordinate volunteer group activities.
- Assist with public relations and public education.