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Emergency officials give residents an opportunity

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POSTED: January 28, 2009 2:21 p.m.
When it comes to natural disasters, living near the coast can often be risky.
In an effort to better protect the community, the Liberty County EMA is organizing the area’s first community emergency response team to encourage residents to be better prepared.
CERT is a national, federally funded program to help cities bounce back from a varieties of tragedies.
“Local government prepares for everyday emergencies. However, there can be an emergency or disaster that can overwhelm the community’s immediate response capability,” said Sheri Norman, CERT coordinator assistant.
“The primary reason for CERT training is to give people decision making, organizational, and practical skills to offer immediate assistance to family members, neighbors, and associates while waiting for help,” Norman said.
The training is a 20-hour program broken up into many different sessions which include disaster preparedness, disaster fire suppression, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue operations, disaster psychology and team organization, course review and disaster simulation.
Many of the sessions include interactive demonstrations.
“It’s more hands-on than book,” she said.
Norman said another thing to keep in mind is that the program is open to everybody. She said she will find a skill for anyone who wants to participate.
“There’s no limitation to CERT,” Norman said. “Whatever you can bring, we appreciate.”
Cyndi Carina, CERT coordinator said they’re bringing the program here because there is a need.
“We don’t have enough first responders,” she said. “By having trained volunteers, it aids the first responders.”
Carina hopes to have the first fully trained classes completed by the summer.
“I would like to see Liberty County resident get involved,” She said.
Participants who complete the training receive duffle bags filled with rescue supplies, tools and first aid supplies so that upon certification, they are ready to help in other in emergencies.
Norman also said CERT-certified citizens can work with other teams nationwide. There are approximately 1,100 programs across the nation.
“I say it’s exciting because it’s a challenge and I love challenges,” Norman said.
According to Norman, the schedule for the classes will be determined by the number and availability of interested residents. For more information or to sign-up for the program, contact Sheri Norman at 912-368-2201.
CERTs do not:
• Suppress large fires.
• Enter structures that they consider heavily damaged and dangerous (e.g., leaning or moved from foundation).
• Perform hazardous materials cleanup or respond to incidents involving radiological, chemical, or biological agents.
• Perform medical, fire, or search and rescue operations beyond their level of training.
• Activate or deploy unless called for in their procedures.

 

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