Volunteers sought for emergency-response team training class

Becky Campbell • Feb 22, 2014 at 8:44 AM

Citizens trained to act during a crisis are a valuable asset for Washington County, and there is an opportunity for residents to become a certified citizen responder next month.

CERT — the Community Emergency Response Team — has been around several years, and there are already more than 100 local citizens with certification.

But with disasters in recent years still fresh on everyone’s mind, Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal wants to get more people familiar with what to do and how to help out during an emergency.

“It educates people about disasters and preparedness, hazards that will impact our area. We wanted to do it this time of year simply because the seasons are changing and we’ve already had some tornadoes in the lower part of the state,” Graybeal said.

The sheriff’s office will team up with the county’s Emergency Management Agency to host the training. EMA Director Nes Levotch said it’s a way to meet neighbors, make new friends and learn new skills.

“If you can help your neighbors and help yourself, it will help our emergency responders,” Levotch said.

CERT members were able to provide assistance to victims during the 2012 flooding in Washington County, Graybeal and Levotch said.

“We want to give the community some preparedness on how to handle situations and what to do if you have someone trapped, or if you have someone in a house you need to get out,” Graybeal said. “When they’re there helping us, they’ll know what to do.”

Levotch said he hopes to create a core group of CERT members who will be ready to respond when needed. Outside of that group, other CERT members would provide additional response and backup.

Topics covered in the training include personal and family preparedness, earthquakes, team organization, disaster psychology, medical operations, medical triage, damage assessment, fire suppression and light search and rescue.

The 25-hour training is free, but participants must attend each of the four training sessions to become certified.

The training will be held each Tuesday and Thursday during March, 6-9 p.m. in the training room at the sheriff’s office.

To sign up, call 788-1414. The deadline for applying is Feb. 28.

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