CERT Training Beginning, Volunteer Rescue Workers Still Wanted

CERT Training Beginning, Volunteer Rescue Workers Still Wanted

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Feb. 1, 2012 ed)

Citizens of all sizes, backgrounds and abilities are coming together for the City’s new CERT Program.  CERT, which stands for Community Emergency Response Team, will provide the community with a network of laypeople trained and ready to go in the event of a large fire, national disaster, severe storm, mass power outages and other situations that put stress on the police and fire departments.

“We won’t turn anyone away,” said Fire Chief Kevin Sullivan.  “If you’re handicapped we can still use you in the office or helping with data collection and paperwork.  Everybody has something they can do to help.”

The volunteer team will be able to respond to major disasters, and also to help out the fire department in other ways such as first aid support at events and helping to secure the area around downed power lines.

“With the storms that hit this summer we were overwhelmed quickly,” Chief Sullivan said.  “There were 450 calls to 911 in the first hour of lines down.  When that happens there is usually damage in the other cities in the area too.  We can’t just rely on DTE to come in and sit on all those wires, and we need to keep the firefighters free to handle bigger problems that come up, like fires.”

Volunteers will “get the full gamut of emergency services training”, in nine essential elements of rescue work:

  1. Unit 1: Disaster Preparedness
  2. Unit 2: Fire Safety
  3. Unit 3: Disaster Medical Operations—Part 1
  4. Unit 4: Disaster Medical Operations—Part 2
  5. Unit 5: Light Search and Rescue Operations
  6. Unit 6: CERT Organization
  7. Unit 7: Disaster Psychology
  8. Unit 8: Terrorism and CERT
  9. Unit 9: Course Review and Disaster Simulation

Once training is completed, volunteers will be issued safety gear and supplies. In the event of a large emergency, team members will coordinate with walkie talkies, and Fire Station One (1635 Livernois) will be the base of all operations.  At the recent CERT Training, Chief Sullivan also reminded volunteers that in emergency situations anyone can “go where you vote for your note,” to learn what is going on, particularly when power loss might cut off access to the internet or cell phones.

Diane Dengate is one of about 20 citizens who has already applied and attended an introduction meeting on Jan.18, 2012.  She is an experienced Registered Nurse who already shares her skills with the public as the Head Nurse for FernCare and an employee at DMC.  She has traveled to Baton Rouge to help after Hurricane Katrina.  People with medical training or emergency services experience, like Dengate, are encouraged to get involved.  “This says a lot about our community that we’re doing this,” she said.  “Ferndale is an amazing place.”

John Woytalewicz recently moved from Troy, and wants to get involved in the community.  He is trained as a firefighter and emergency medical technician.  “I want to get some more experience,” he said about his decision to join, “and I want to help out.”

The CERT will service Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge and Royal Oak Township, which helps in the grant application process.  “They like to see communities working together,” said Chief Sullivan, explaining that CERT programs are organized through The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and money may be available through Federal, State or County grants. “Because we serve multiple communities we are going to be well-funded.”  The program is part of a national program, with the official CERT website found here.

Sullivan hopes to attract about 30 volunteers.  For those interested in learning more, contact ferndalecert@ferndalefirerescue.org.

Previous CERT coverage can be found at http://oaklandcounty115.com/2012/01/11/city-seeks-cert-volunteers-to-help-in-emergencies-2/.

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