Let's be Prepared: Cert Training in Green River
|CERT trainees learn the basics on fire suppresion.|
Green River has seven more CERT trained individuals to add to their CERT program making a total of 21 including CERT Instructor Tamara Ekker. The last class was focused toward the remaining city employees that needed training. They are Mayor Dale Johnson, City Councilman Tom Burr, Larry Hankinson, Bryan Meadows and Chett Hunt. Christine Monroe and Terry Coppin joined this group to make seven. CERT classes were held every Tuesday from 1-4 p.m. for seven weeks and one Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. for fire suppression, cribbing and mock disaster exercise. Mayor Johnson and all city employees are now trained. Now it's up to the rest of the community members who haven't received CERT training to step up. It's free and a very easy way to prepare yourself for and help your community in a disaster. Green River appreciates each and every one of you who have come forward for CERT training. The CERT program provides you with basic personal safety equipment.The Green River Citizen Corps Council/Local Emergency Preparedness Committee sponsors CERT.
With the ever present threat of terrorism and natural disasters, more and more communities are discovering the advantages to having an active Community Emergency Response Team in place.
According to an article in the Millard County Chronicle Progress, March 16, Janet Lindquist, an EMT and CERT Commander for Millard County, was instrumental in organizing the highly successful CERT program there. After completing the training course nearly five years ago, she saw the potential CERT had for Millard County and soon became involved in building a program. In eight years, that program has grown to 450 members who are all trained in disaster preparedness and response.
"Community support is the key to a successful CERT program," Lindquist said. While most CERT programs are funded through federal grants, Millard County commissioners have pledged moral and fiscal support. Because of this support, CERT training is offered on a regular basis in Millard County.
Lindquist and her colleges take their program further than just their community. For example, CERT members from Millard County offered assistance in Florida following the devastating 2004 hurricane season.
Sevier County's CERT program is much newer than neighboring Millard County's but CERT coordinator Shara Bastian said citizens there have already recognized the program's significance.
"(CERT) is a good program because of what you learn." she said. "It's a good way for communities to be prepared in times of disaster and for citizens to take care of themselves when first responders aren't available."
Rita Bice, a CERT instructor in LaVerkin said she loves the program's universal appeal. Teen graduates have chosen Eagle Scout projects that benefit CERT and other emergency programs in the area. Retirees also find in CERT a sense of self-sufficiency they couldn't get anywhere else.
"The underlying principle is that the more individuals are prepared for a disaster-mentally and physically- the more confidence they gain in themselves," she said. "In the past they wouldn't even consider that they could help themselves during trying times, but they are now committed to not being a burden on others by obtaining preparedness knowledge."
|Green River CERT team.|
The Southern Utah Citizen Corps Council is gearing up for a CERT training event April 7-9 that will help current CERT members renew their training. For more information about Red Rock CERT or CERT in general visit www.sucert.org.
Community Emergency Response Teams are a lot like a good mufflerÃ¯Â¿Â½ nobody hears much about them until something goes wrong. Such was the case with the recent butane tanker explosion in Fruit Heights.
According to a Feb. 11 story in the Deseret Morning News, CERT members were instrumental in the evacuation of Fruit Heights and Kaysville. At makeshift shelters like Burton Elementary, some 50 volunteers kept track of those who were evacuated and helped them find a place to stay for the night. It was a textbook example of how CERT training can help during emergencies.
Volunteers from Southern Utah Citizen Corps Council were encouraged by the success of the real-life CERT exercise in Davis County. SUCCC comprises individual county and city citizen corps councils throughout central, southwestern and southeastern Utah. Homeland Security, State and Federal Emergency Management Agency authorities, emergency personnel, law enforcement officials and other local agencies come together under the SUCCC umbrella.
CERT training and disaster preparedness are a fundamental part of what these agencies do.
Like similar groups across the country, some of SUCCC's goals include: strengthening the region's ability to prevent crime and terrorism, helping communities feel more prepared and secure, encouraging volunteer opportunities, and building stronger collaboration between community organizations. In a word where acts of terrorism and natural disasters make headlines on an almost-daily basis, it is imperative for communities to come together and have a plan in place.
SUCCC has created training/mock disaster event as a way to incorporate disaster preparedness and response activities and training.
The Red Rock CERT Exercise (Weapons of Mass Destruction) will take place April 7-9 in Moab. The White Sands Missile Range (near Green River) was the other site that was considered for this exercise.
The objective of this exercise is to create hands-on learning opportunities and facilitate CERT training. Fourteen counties and one city are involved in planning for the event: Beaver, Carbon, Garfield, Grand, Emery, Iron, Juab, Kane, Millard, Piute, Sanpete, Sevier, Washington, Wayne, and Green River City.
Karen Smith Green River CCC/LEPC Chair and CERT Coordinator is a member of the Southern Utah Citizen Corps Council and attends SUCCC monthly meetings at the Sevier County Courthouse in Richfield.
Karen is on the Red Rock CERT Design Team and has been involved with planning this WMD disaster exercise from the beginning.
All past and present CERT-trained members are encouraged to attend Red Rock CERT. For more information, visit www.sucert.org or call Karen Smith 564-3448.