HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Somerset County municipalities are seeking volunteers to join their Community Emergency Response Teams.

An upcoming CERT training class is being held at the Somerset County Emergency Services Training Academy, located at 402 Roycefield Road April 11, 13, 18, 20, 25 and 27 from 7 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, April 22 and 29, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program 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.

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Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help.

CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

CERT teams participate in a number of community events throughout the year providing support in various ways.  They are also on stand-by for any major emergencies to provide specialized support in areas of shelter management and crowd control.

Seating is limited to the first 30 residents. Registration forms are due by Tuesday, April 4.

The CERT program is free for 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 Patricia Walsh, public health and safety liaison. “Depending on the emergency and the scope of the county or regional situation, our 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 our 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,” she 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.”

Since the program’s inception in 2012, more than 470 Somerset County residents have been trained and certified.

For more information about Somerset County CERT and the CERT training program and to receive a registration form and course schedule, contact Somerset County CERT Coordinator Kevin Anderson, Somerset County Office of Emergency Management, at (908) 725-5070,  Anderson@co.somerset.nj.us or go online at http://bit.ly/CERTInfo.  Links to the application and course schedule are at the bottom of the page.

To learn more about Community Emergency Response Teams, visit www.citizencorps.gov/cert.