SUMMIT, NJ - The City of Summit Office of Emergency Management Police and Fire Departments are establishing a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), and recruiting volunteer participants for the eight-week training program on Monday evenings in March and April.
The goal of CERT training is to educate volunteers about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact the Summit area and train them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the skills learned in classroom sessions and during exercises, Summit CERT members will take an active role in disaster preparedness projects and in assisting professional emergency responders. CERT members will also help with non-emergency projects to improve community safety.
“Our goal in establishing this program is for CERT members and response personnel to work together for the benefit of the community,” explains Summit Police Chief Robert Weck. “CERT training will give people the decision-making, organizational, and practical skills needed to effectively assist in emergency situations.”
CERT training is free and open to all Summit residents age 16 and older. The 20-hours of training are classroom based with few physical requirements. In the CERT training, citizens will learn to:
- Manage utilities and put out small fires
- Treat for shock and control bleeding
- Provide basic medical aid
- Search for and rescue victims safely
- Organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective
- Collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts
According to Police Lt. Michael Cantone, who is coordinating the CERT effort for the City of Summit, CERT teams have been established in other towns throughout New Jersey and the nation “to provide ongoing disaster preparedness and emergency support.” Cantone describes CERT as “a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens may initially be on their own and their actions can make a difference.”