Emergency Response Team Training Teaches Disaster Preparedness

GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, N.J. – The number and severity of storms has increased in recent years, and in order to be more prepared, the Camden County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is making training more accessible to individuals of all ages.

CERT will offer open training on May 18 at the former site of Bancroft School in Haddonfield.

“The CERT program is designed to help you protect yourself, your family, and your community in the event of disaster,” Freeholder Jonathan Young, liaison to the Camden County Department of Public Safety said in a press release. “The program is completely free to participants and includes over 20 hours of training in a single weekend. This is an excellent opportunity to give yourself and your family peace of mind in an increasingly unpredictable environment,” he said.

The training consists of both hands-on exercises and classroom instruction with stations that include Camden County CERT Operations, Camden County CERT Equipment Overview, Triage, Cribbing, Patient lifting and moving, Building Search, Outdoor Search and Door Breaching according to Coordinator of Camden County CERT, Jay Vilardo.

“There will also be a Stop the Bleed Class which covers how to control bleeding and tourniquet use,” Vilardo said. “Throughout the morning there will also be a disaster first aid practice station and a fire extinguisher simulator for brushing up on extinguisher use.   Along with that the teams will have their state issued CERT Trailers on display for inspection by the NJ State Police Office of Emergency Management. FEMA will have a table also,” Vilardo added.

The CERT training will start around 8:30 a.m. and end around 1:00 p.m. and will be followed by the South Regional CERT Rodeo with CERT teams from Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem Counties represented at the training along with their CERT trailers on site for inspection by state officials.

“This will be the first time we will be hosting this rodeo,” Vilardo said. “The state is trying a new format by conducting regional CERT Rodeos instead of on large statewide event. Our program was picked because of the extensive training we conduct with our team throughout the year and we wanted to extend it to our partner teams in the south region.”

The CERT training is free, but pre-registration is required to take part in the training. Participants under the age of 18 must receive parent/guardian permission to attend. Anyone interested in joining the CERT Team, must register by contacting cert@camdencodps.org.