– By Tiffani Ireland –
In response to a need to have qualified volunteer emergency response personnel, the Edgefield County Emergency Management Agency is offering training through the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program. This program will train volunteers in nine disciplines of emergency response to better equip them in the wake of a disaster.
As Dep. Director of EMA, Sandy Backensto, told The Advertiser, when a disaster strikes, many people show up at the scene wanting to give assistance. However, without proper training, these people can actually hinder the situation. That is why she said it is so important to have volunteers trained before a disaster strikes.
The nine disciplines covered by CERT are search and rescue, small fires, emergency preparedness, basic first aid, how to assist emergency responders, setup of medical treatment centers, identifying and anticipating hazards, reducing fire hazards, and assisting with survivor stress. While ideally suited for organizations such as churches, clubs, and civic groups, individuals can also be trained by CERT. “If you have a will or desire, we can find a place for you,” EMA Director Mike Casey said.
To spearhead this new program, Susie Spurgeon, of Johnston, has been named CERT Coordinator. Her position, as well as materials for the program, is grant funded. CERT classes are expected to begin in the near future. Class times are flexible, and Mrs. Backensto said the approximately 16 hour class can be set up to accommodate many different schedules. For more information on joining the CERT program, please call 637-2123.
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