Emergency Response Team Training Set To Teach Disaster Preparedness

By: Follow Local News Staff

MOUNT EPHRAIM, N.J. — As the hurricane and winter storm season approaches, the need for emergency preparedness becomes more and more critical.  To that end, the Camden County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is once again making training more available to individuals of all ages.

CERT training will take place on Friday, September 20 from 7:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M., Saturday, September 21 from 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., and Sunday, September 22 from 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. at the Mount Ephraim Fire Department, 200 Bell Road, Mount Ephraim. All three days must be attended or made up if missed.

“The CERT and TeenCERT programs are a great way for you and your teen over 13 years of age to learn how to help your friends, family and community in times of need,” Jay Vilardo

Coordinator of Camden County CERT said in an email. “The program is a fun and informative way to learn how to be a more active member in the community and it is a great way to accumulate community service hours.”

According to Vilardo, the free 20 hour class provides training to people in basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations. CERT members can also help with non-emergency projects that help improve the safety and welfare of the community.  

“Adults and teens train side by side during the class and during their monthly maintenance training,” Vilardo said. 

According to their website, CERT was “developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department in 1985. The Whittier Narrows earthquake in 1987 underscored the area-wide threat of a major disaster in California. Further, it confirmed the need for training civilians to meet their immediate needs.

“Since 1993 when this training was made available nationally by FEMA, communities in 28 states and Puerto Rico have conducted CERT training. FEMA supports CERT by conducting or sponsoring Train-the-Trainer and Program Manager courses for members of the fire, medical and emergency management community.”

Nationwide, there are over 2,700 local CERT programs, with more than 600,000 volunteers trained since CERT became a national program.

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.