The Community Emergency Response Team, a program through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations, according to the FEMA website.
Deployed in times when first responders may not be available or have mitigated emergency response needs, a Bartow County CERT unit offers additional benefits beyond a smaller team.
“Operating the CERT from a county level has many benefits such as more recourses, more participants from all around the county — northside to the southside, more opportunity to train and the possibility of some funding from the Citizen Corp., just to name a few,” said Bartow County EMA Director Paul Cuprowski in the fall.
Cuprowski will oversee the operations, training and overall direction of CERT.
The required 20-hour course to be involved in CERT is set for Saturday, Feb. 8, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 9, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., followed by a four-hour session Saturday, Feb. 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All three sessions will be held at the Bartow-Cartersville joint training center on Paga Mine Road in Emerson.
The program is open to anyone over the age of 16 for training at the basic level. The basic level teaches you how to care for yourself, your family and your neighbors during an emergency.
“For those who are interested in becoming involved in advancing to our actual response team, they will have to participate in a background check by the Bartow County Sheriff’s Department — at no cost to the volunteer — and also they will have to do some advanced training, i.e. CPR, traffic control, search and rescue, ropes and knots, leadership, ICS Incident Command System, NIMS forms and chainsaw operations,” Cuprowski said. “All of the advanced classes would not apply to everyone. It would be depending on your likes, talent and limitability. Not everyone has interest or the capabilities to cut trees but they may have talents in computers or leadership, and that’s what makes it such a great program — there’s something for everyone to do.”
For an application and more information on the Bartow County CERT, visit http://bartowcountycert.org/ or find Bartow County CERT on Facebook. Those interested in the February course may email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.