(Crystal A. Proxmire, 7/21/2011)
The Ferndale Fire Department is working on putting together a CERT Team to help in the event of natural disasters, downed power lines, and other emergency situations. The Citizens Emergency Response Team can also be used in other situations to help with injuries, searches, having a presence at events in case help is needed, and possibly training other residents about safety and emergency preparedness. CERT Teams are not a substitute for Police and Fire, but they are there to offer immediate assistance if something happens and emergency workers are not available, and also to supplement the work they do.
Volunteers are needed, and training is provided. Most people have something they can offer to team and no particular background experience is required. Preference may be given based on the interested people’s skills, availability etc.
One underlying principle of CERT training is that people are naturally inclined to help in unsafe situations. Training people throughout the community to know how to help and organize can make helping more efficient. It can also save lives. One example given on the CERT website was during an earthquake in Mexico City where untrained volunteers spontaneously went to work and rescued 800 people. 100 volunteers lost their lives while attempting to save others. Training can help citizens know how to rescue safely and organize others with much less risk.
Fire Chief Kevin Sullivan hopes to get about 30 volunteers to start, and so far seven have signed up. An initial organizational meeting will be held on August 1, with information about the meeting to be given to those who RSVP. Contact Sullivan at email@example.com if you are interested.
CERT programs are organized through The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and money may be available through Federal, State or County grants. For more information go to http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/index.shtm.