CERT training for disaster
Public safety Community training prepares residents for emergency situations, creates volunteer team prepared for deployment
Its been years since Newberg had its own standalone Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), but Yamhill County Emergency Manager Sue Lamb said emergency response training is still something county residents benefit from.
CERT is a national program that offers training and information to participants for handling emergency situations. The county offers classes about three times a year, but the upcoming Sept. 23 class is new.
CERT basics is for people who have never been through before, Lamb said. Its just for the average citizen or business owner to be better prepared for their own life and for their family.
The training lasts eight weeks, meeting for three hours each class.
Generally speaking, after people go to the class, theres two outcomes, she said. No. 1 is everyone whos gone through the class has learned something. It puts people in the community better trained and better prepared to help if a disaster or emergency if occurs.
She said most take the class and thats the end. But there are some who become active CERT members.
If we had a disaster wed come to the team to support the response efforts in a variety of capacities, Lamb said. They are those folks who become active, they have some additional requirements to become an extension on our organization.
So far, she said almost 500 county residents have participated in the emergency training, with about 80 to 100 people active and deployable, although they havent been deployed yet.
I put the team on standby last winter because it looked pretty bad (during the February snowstorm), Lamb said. They havent been called out perse yet, but have some great experience and help us do some exercises as well.
The active team also volunteers for various events and competes in the CERT Rodeo.
Last year Yamhill County CERT did more than 4,300 community service hours, she said.
She added that even if people are only interested in learning emergency management for themselves, she encourages it.
Im a big proponent for doing it just for the sake of going through it as well, Lamb said. Its wonderful to have people who want to learn and help out with a disaster. Thats very helpful, but its always great to have people who have gone through (training) and (say) I can take care of myself.
The classes are free and start at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 23 at Newberg Fire Department Station 21. For more information, visit www. yccert.org.