Emergency Preparedness and Response Training Begins in September
What do floods, tornadoes (including macro- and microbursts!), hurricanes, blizzards, building collapses, terrorist attacks, fires and hazmat situations have in common? They have all occurred in Arlington County within the past ten years. And they all illustrate the importance of being personally prepared for and able to respond to emergencies, large and small. It’s everyone’s responsibility.
That’s what Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training is all about. This eight-session, 25-hour course, sponsored by the Arlington County Citizen Corps Council, Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Fire Department (ACFD), covers disaster preparedness, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, team organization, disaster psychology, fire suppression and terrorism. It follows a FEMA/DHS all-hazards curriculum being used around the globe.
To-date, over 500 individuals have completed CERT training in Arlington County. It is open to Arlington residents – and those who work in the County but reside elsewhere -- who are at least 18 years of age (16 if accompanied by at least one parent) and able to participate in all aspects of the training, some of which requires lifting and carrying. The training is free, but participants are expected to acquire certain supplies themselves, many of which you probably already have on-hand. All classes meet at the Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) Training Academy in Shirlington and are taught by ACFD and OEM staff and CERT members. Neighboring jurisdictions also offer CERT training for their residents.
Some complete this training simply to be safer in their own homes and workplaces. Others choose to complete additional requirements necessary to become active members of neighborhood teams trained to assist in major disasters. All help make Arlington County a safer place to live, work and play!
Fall CERT classes are scheduled to begin on September 15 and 20 and available seats will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Advance registration is required. If you’d like additional information or would like to sign up, please contact the program’s volunteer coordinator, Cynthia Kellams, at ArlingtonCERT@aol.com. A little training can make a huge difference in a disaster!
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