Anyone else heard about/dealt with this? We were just talking about it at the firehouse tonight. It may sound good, but I don't think it is workable. ________________________________________________________________ NEWS SEARCH Seeking CERT Support By Nancy Bastian Published on 1/27/2005 Susan is taking the expression "neighbors helping neighbors" to a whole new level. The long-time Madison resident is endeavoring to create a Civilian Emergency Response Team (CERT) in town, which she asserts will provide "a safety net of volunteers who can be called upon to help others in the community in the event of a major, widespread disaster." Susan understands the burden placed on police, volunteer firefighters, and medical personnel. After working as an emergency services dispatcher in Madison from 1981 to 1996, she realizes that during times of crisis, such as hurricanes and ice storms, emergency workers can be overwhelmed by requests for all levels of assistance. She has also observed that at the same time there are "citizens who...want to help, but are neither trained to do so nor have the structure to mobilize." Through the CERT program, Susan says these willing volunteers can be taught how to "become auxiliary resources," when public safety officials aren't able to respond immediately. While CERT would be new to Madison, Susan says it is a well-established program under the Department of Homeland Security. According to an online Homeland Security fact sheet, hundreds of communities in America have already implemented CERT programs. Susan says that at the heart of the CERT program is a required 20-hour course where members become proficient in basic disaster medical operations (moving injured people, treating life threatening conditions, triage, splinting), disaster preparedness, fire safety and suppression, as well as light search and rescue. Susan stresses CERT members don't compete with emergency fire, police, and medical personnel. She explained that the protocol is "CERT members first help themselves, their family, neighborhood, then the town, but only to the extent of their training, which is very basic." She adds that "in cases of area specific needs, CERT can help with traffic control, aid the walking wounded, assess medical needs" or even saw and remove tree limbs that have fallen across roadways, which prevent emergency vehicles from getting where they are needed. To build a CERT in Madison, Susan says there must be at least 20 volunteers willing to undertake the training. There also must be a commitment to the program to stay with it for a number of years. She is happy to report that already the Madison Police Explorer Troop has expressed interest the program. Also needed to launch the program, according to Susan, is a source of funding. She notes gear (hard hat, vest, flashlight, glove) alone for one person costs nearly $80. Susan is hopeful that the community will embrace the program and be generous in its support. If all goes well, she anticipates that CERT classes will start sometime this spring. Powered by TheDay.com ________________________________________________________________ Just curious about other's thoughts on this.