This blog often highlights the “emergency management team”, the collective group of first responders, local/state/federal government agencies, volunteer and faith-based groups, and citizens that play a role in making the nation more resilient to the impacts of emergencies. I wanted to call attention to a group of particularly committed citizens on this team, members of Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT).
Local CERT programs are a great resource for community members to get trained in basic disaster response skills and preparedness. They play vital role in preparing communities before a disaster strikes, which sets them up to be very effective in case an emergency happens.
Check out this video of a CERT in Bridgewater, Massachusetts – they helped residents stay safe by setting up a shelter during a blizzard last month:
To become a CERT member, training is offered from a sponsoring agency like the local fire department, or law enforcement or emergency management agency in the area where you live or work. CERT members learn about the potential threats to their home, workplace and community, and how to take action to safely assist family members, neighbors, coworkers and others who may need help before professionals responders can arrive.
Once you become a CERT member, there are a number of ways to build resiliency in your community:
- Local CERT teams across the nation also conduct training courses including response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations.
- CERT members can also participate in drills and exercises, as well as projects to help keep their communities safer and more disaster resilient
Contact your local emergency manager and ask about the opportunities available to you. Even if you don’t become a member of your local CERT Program, you can still take CERT training that will help you be better prepared for emergencies.
Are you a CERT member, or do you have a CERT success story? Leave a comment and share!