Protect Yourself and Loved Ones with CERT Training

Posted on March 9, 2016

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 Deputy Director 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 Wednesday, March 30.  Seating is limited to the first 30 residents. Registration forms are due by Thursday, March 24.

Somerset County holds two CERT training programs a year in the spring and fall. Residents unable to participate in the spring session due to lack of space will be given priority in the fall session, if they choose to attend.

The first class will be on Wednesday, March 30.  Subsequent classes will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays, March 31 and April 5, 7, 12 and 14 from 7 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, April 9 and 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Somerset County Emergency Services Training Academy, located at 402 Roycefield Road in Hillsborough 08844.

The CERT program is free to 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 Deputy Director Peter S Palmer. “But, depending on the emergency and the scope of the county or regional situation, 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 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 400 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 dematteo@co.somerset.nj.us.

Source: Somerset County Office of Public Information