HILLSBOROUGH – Disasters can strike quickly and without much warning. Would you know what to do if local emergency personnel were overwhelmed during a disaster or were unable to access your neighborhood for up to 72 hours?
Freeholder Peter S. Palmer, public health and safety liaison, invites residents to take advantage of the upcoming Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training hosted by the Somerset County Office of Emergency Management, starting Tuesday, Oct. 13. Seating is limited to the first 30 residents. Registration forms are due by Friday, Oct. 9.
Classes will be held at the Somerset County Emergency Services Training Academy, located at 402 Roycefield Road in Hillsborough, Oct. 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, and 29 from 7 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 24 and 31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The CERT program is free for Somerset County residents. Students who complete all modules will receive a CERT certificate of completion.
“Somerset County is fortunate to have so many well-trained emergency responders who do a wonderful job and who are dedicated to serving their communities,” said Freeholder Palmer. “But, depending on the emergency and the scope of the county or regional situation, our first responders may not be able to reach all areas of the county right away. For that reason, we are offering CERT training to help our residents stay safe during disasters.
“Protecting yourself and your family during an emergency requires planning. Just as emergency personnel train and prepare in advance for disaster, residents also can take training classes,” he said.
“Although people without training do respond to others in need during emergencies, the goal of the CERT program is to help residents do so effectively and efficiently without placing themselves in unnecessary danger,” said Freeholder Palmer.
Residents who complete CERT training have a better understanding of potential threats to their home and community. They know what to do to lessen the effects of hazards on themselves and their families.
CERT training is intended to give people decision-making, organizational and practical skills necessary to offer immediate assistance to family members, neighbors and associates while waiting for help. Participants learn about disaster preparedness and receive training in basic disaster-response skills such as disaster-medical operations, fire safety and light search and rescue.
“We are very pleased with the interest that previous CERT programs have received. Since the program’s inception in 2012, more than 405 Somerset County residents have been trained and are ready, willing and able to assist family and friends in their communities,” said Freeholder Palmer. “No doubt many more residents could benefit from this experience and the sense of control that comes with knowledge and training.”
To learn more about CERT, visit www.citizencorps.gov/cert.
For more information about the CERT training program or to receive a registration form, contact Somerset County CERT Coordinator Tony DeMatteo, Somerset County Office of Emergency Management, at (908) 725-5070 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A registration form and course schedule are available at www.co.somerset.nj.us/division/emergencyman.html
The Peapack-Gladstone OEM is working to establish a CERT team in town. For more information contact Cole Kleitch (CERT Team Leader), or Kingsley Hill (OEM Coordinator) at 908-234-0972.
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