Emergency response team gets a look at available equipment
By Bob Steenson, email@example.com
Members of Floyd County CERT — the Community Emergency Response Team — got a chance to go through the materials in the county emergency response trailer Thursday night.
It’s all part of their training to be able to help out when needed.
The program prepares volunteers in basic disaster response skills so they can help with some of the “routine” parts of a disaster such as administrative work, answering phones, helping with traffic, etc., so the professional emergency responders such as police, fire and ambulance can devote more of their time to critical needs.
“They can really be called out for anything,” said Lezlie Weber, the Floyd County emergency management director. “My main goal is to have them activated in times of road closures, like in Rockford. We could have used them to shut down some traffic, some high traffic.”
CERT members can also work in the EOC — the emergency operations center.
“They can help administratively there,” Weber said. “And then also, after a disaster they can be my disaster assessment team.
“Right now that’s all we’ve basically talked about, but we have jobs of all ranges,” she said.
The county has had the CERT trailer for some time, but this is the first time people other than Weber have gone through it since Weber started with the county in 2014.
Weber pushed to reactivate the CERT program this past winter and spring, and the current group graduated in June.
Sixteen people graduated and are now active members of the team, Weber said. Another four people have since signed up and are beginning their training.
The trailer contains barricades, some tents to help provide shade, administrative materials, coolers to help with distributing water, tarps and more.
“The big thing is their backpacks,” Weber said. “Each one will get issued a CERT backpack and it will have their essentials in it — a flashlight, a helmet, safety goggles, gloves and a few other items.”
Weber said she is still actively looking for people who would like to be certified to be part of the team. Training involves 16 hours covering nine topics and all materials are provided. There is no cost to become part of the CERT.
Anyone who wants to join can call Weber at 641-257-6144 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.