1. #1
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    Post Community Emergency Response Teams

    TYRONZA, Ark. (AP) - The arrival of severe weather season means
    a high risk of damage associated with tornadoes, high winds and
    flooding.
    Tyronza volunteer firefighter Jerry Collier stands ready to
    battle the elements. As coordinator of Poinsett County's Citizen
    Corps, he devotes a sizable chunk of time to training residents to
    respond to natural disasters.
    The corps was created by President George W. Bush as part of the
    federal Department of Homeland Security with oversight from the
    Federal Emergency Management Administration.
    "The tornadoes last May in the county led me to do something to
    get better training and help other people do it too," said
    Collier, who works as safety director and recruiter for Loggins
    Logistics in Jonesboro.
    "I talked with Mayor (Marion) Bearden about getting the funding
    together for training, then to Merle Williams (director of the
    Poinsett County Office of Emergency Management). They both gave me
    the green light."
    To implement the training - known as Community Emergency
    Response Team - the trio secured a $4,100 FEMA grant and another
    $1,000 grant for Citizens Corps to carry out the 20-hour coursework
    required to prepare participants for dealing with real situations.
    Collier is a certified emergency medical technician and uses
    that experience throughout the training process.
    "We delve into things like fire suppression, search and rescue,
    communications and disaster psychology, which deals with the mental
    side of trauma," Collier said. "That's the most difficult part of
    it because of people's emotions. The human side is always there."
    For his part, Williams said the support of everyday people like
    Collier is critical to rural areas, if for no other reason than to
    have able bodies close by to handle immediate needs stemming from
    disasters.
    "Jerry has done a stellar job in training his folks to spring
    into action at a moment's notice. That means a lot to Poinsett
    County because we have a number of smaller communities and outlying
    areas," Williams said.
    The program claims 15 graduates and will begin a new class early
    next month. Sessions are held at the Tyronza Fire Department.
    Collier said courses typically cover seven weeks at a clip.
    Donations are always welcome, Collier said, and have included
    fire extinguishers, pry bars, and a truck trailer housed next to
    the fire department.
    "We have a $4,500 grant for the program this year which will
    help us cover supplies and preparation kits. Each graduate receives
    a certificate which is paid for by the funding," Collier
    continued.
    Now that several tornado safe houses are located across the
    county, Collier plans to speak to students and faculty about the
    role of emergency response, whether it is provided by paid
    personnel or volunteers.
    Last year's class was split almost evenly among men and women,
    old and young.
    "If you're breathing we can use you," Collier said.
    For more information about Citizen Corps and CERT training, call
    800-524-4087, 870-243-2484 or 870-487-2144.
    On the Net:
    www.cert-la.com

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  2. #2
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    I was wondering if anyone had taken advantage of the President's Citizen Corps. This is the first that I've heard of one actually up and running. Effingham County (IL) is trying to take on a similar class at this time. Anyone else have any info about just such an agency?

    code_blue81
    Jeremy Culver
    IACOJ Bureau of EMS

    These views are my own and do not represent the views or opinions of anyambulance service that I am affiliated with.

    Help our fellow firefighters.
    www.helpingourown.com
    "Firefighters Helping Firefighters"

  3. #3
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    Sangamon County (IL) has had one class so far for the CERT, I think a second is in the works.

  4. #4
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    Various Departments around here (Dayton, OH) have been teaching classes for almost a year.

    Cheers

  5. #5
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    Montgomery County (MD) has such a program, CHAMP (Community Hazard Awareness and Mitigation Program).

  6. #6
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    My department teaches CERT classes. Its basicly the new take on civil defense.
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

  7. #7
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    Nearby Prairieville FD in Ascension Parish has organised a couple of teams. I was particularly impressed by the amount of press coverage they were given by both local weekly papers. The FD conducted CERT classes once a week for several weeks and many photos were taken showing students doing tasks such as CPR, Fire Extinguisher training involving live fire, Team building exercises and more. Each week the photos were published in the papers along with writeups of the training being done. GREAT recruiting tool.
    Participants received plastic safety hardhats, backpacks w/FD patch sewn on, gloves, cpr shields, Prairieville FD License Plate with the word C.E.R.T. on it and more.
    While I am impressed with the work done by this department I can't help but feel that if the CD units I remember seeing as a kid had not been negelected or outright disbanded then much of this rebuilding would not be necessary. Many communities had active civil defence teams staffed with trained and committed citizens who were willing to serve. In the past 20 years these groups had funding and government support withdrawn until they became useless relics of the cold war. Now Civil Defence is back with a new name, CERT, and having to be completely reassembled. Talk about reinventing the wheel.

  8. #8
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    CERT is well and is running.

    Virginia has been doing CERT for several years. There is so much requests for CERT that the local departments and the state department of emergency management can not keep up with the request or training.

    It will slow up after awhile but until then, it is going strong.




    Stay Safe & Well out there.....

  9. #9
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    Our first CERT team has just completed it's training. Not sure how it's going to work out. Alot of our FF's dont like the concept. They say that the CERT people will get in our way and be just another bunch of people we will have to worry about when th s*** hits the fan and the team is activated.

    I'm trying to keep an open mind about it.

    Dave

    http://www.psfrd.org/cert/

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