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Community Emergency Response Team provides vital training to citizens to help during unexpected disasters

What do you do if there is a major disaster? Emergency services are quickly overwhelmed, 9-1-1 is swamped and all lines are busy. You realize that you are now on your own, and whatever has happened is something you have to deal with. What do you do?

Across the globe, indecision happens when disasters happen. Panic, the most dangerous and infectious emotion we have, sets in. Panic is natural but is not useful in a crisis, and the antidote is being prepared and knowing what to do.

Here in Woodburn we can help you gain the skills you need to be prepared. The Woodburn CERT team is actively seeking volunteers to join in being disaster prepared. CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team and anyone can be a CERT member.

CERT offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization, which professional responders can rely on during disaster situations, allowing them to focus on more complex tasks. CERT augments; it does not replace professional responders. Woodburn's CERT training program educates volunteers in a free, multi-day, 21-hour course about disaster preparedness focused on the hazards that may impact the local area. It trains participants in basic disaster reponse skills such as fire safety, basic search and rescue, team operations, and disaster-level first aid. In short, CERT teaches confidence in a crisis. At the conclusion of the course, trainees will have a basic understanding of what to do in case of emergency, and the Woodburn CERT program also provides regular refresher training to exercise skills and keep them sharp.

Throughout the year, Woodburn CERT also puts on the Bike Rodeo, provides first aid at Oktoberfest and Steam Up in Brooks, helps with the Woodburn Fire Department open house and the fire fighter food drive, and assists during other emergencies that may arise. For example, Woodburn CERT donated in excess of 115 hours of service, distributing potable drinking water during the 2018 Salem Water Crisis.

The next series of CERT classes begin 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 24 at the Woodburn FIre District's Main Station, 1776 Newberg Hwy., in Woodburn. The classrooms are located at the rear of the building. Persons seeking more information or wanting to take the free training can email CERT coordinator Uli Reich at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call the Fire DIstrict at 503-982-2360 Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

General information about CERT can be accessed at Ready.gov/CERT.


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