In case of an emergency, it is essential people have the proper training and ability to handle an unexpected or dangerous emergency, the Community Emergency Response Team Program offers these valuable skills.
The CERT program, through the Office of Emergency Management, is designed to educate community members on basic disaster response skills and preparedness. These skills include fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.
“We learned a variety of things like first aid, traffic control, team work and team building, and how to work with a city agency,” said Fernando Tirado, district manager of Community Board 7 who participated in the course.
The full course consisted of a group of 25 participants, including several other members of CB 7, and lasted 11 weeks, meeting once a week for three hours, and finishing with a disaster simulation on Wednesday, November 26 on E. 204th Street under the Grand Concourse Overpass.
“Community Board 7 happens to be the location of the borough’s evacuation center,” said Tirado, “and that was a primary reason for participating. We wanted to be better prepared in case of a borough wide or district emergency. We used to have a CERT group here and we wanted to see if we could bring something like that back.”
CERT training is available to the general public, provided they gather a large group of 25 and are willing to dedicate themselves to the course. Learned skills not only assist in disaster situations, but everyday through community awareness and basic safety such as installing a smoke detector in ones home.
“Its been a little intense, you get to learn a lot of stuff with regards to how to react and how to be prepared,” said Tirado. “You learning things you would have never thought about before, such as putting together a go bag for emergencies if you need to evacuate quickly with things to help you survive outside your home for a few days.”
For more information on the CERT program visit www.citizencorps.gov/cert/.