C.E.R.T is a program that was developed and implemented by Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985. They recognized that citizens would very likely be in their own during early stages of a catastrophic disaster. The training program that the LAFD initiated proved to be so beneficial that FEMA felt that the concept and the program should be made available to communities nationwide. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) created C.E.R.T based upon the model-created by the LAFD in 1994.
Union County Emergency Management and Union County Fire Department is a combination department. UCFD consists of 16 paid employees and approximately 80 volunteers. In the event of a disaster, UCFD will be stretched thin throughout the county. With the assistance of members of C.E.R.T, the citizens will get help faster. For those injured C.E.R.T members can provide life-saving medical attention. They can also extinguish small fires and shut off utilities going to your home.
C.E.R.T members have recently been used in the search for Kristi Cornwell, and in previous searches around the lake.
In the event of a catastrophic disaster, you and the community may be on your own for a period of time because of the size of area affected, lost communications and impassable roads. C.E.R.T training is designed to prepare you to help yourself, your family and your neighbors. In the event of a disaster, Emergency services personnel will not be able to help everyone immediately; you can make a difference by using the training you learn in the C.E.R.T program. C.E.R.T training covers the basic skills that are important to know in a disaster when emergency services are not available. With training and practice and by working as a team, you will be able to do the greatest good for the greatest number of victims after a disaster, while protecting yourself from being the victim.
C.E.R.T training will teach participants the basics in several areas in order to help themselves and then their neighbors. Those areas consist of Disaster preparedness, Fire Safety, Disaster Medical Operations, Light Search and Rescue, Command, Disaster Psychology and how Terrorism affects C.E.R.T.
C.E.R.T members maintain and refine their skills by participating in exercises and activities. They can attend supplemental training opportunities offered by the sponsoring agency and others that further their skill base. Finally, C.E.R.T members can volunteer for projects that improve community preparedness.
Union County Emergency Management Agency adopted C.E.R.T in 2006. Union County has now had two classes and is currently taking names of those interested in becoming a member of the Union County C.E.R.T. Training is broken into seven categories and classes typically run approximately three to four hours. Prior to taking the class, members are strongly encouraged to take the online course through the Emergency Management Institute www.citizencorps.gov/cert/is317. This will give members a better understanding of what C.E.R.T is and how C.E.R.T operates prior to taking the class.