The Office of Emergency Management [“OEM”] coordinates the training and activities of the Grayson County Community Emergency Response Teams or “CERT”.
What is CERT?
CERT is a training program that prepares you to help yourself, your family, and your neighbors in the event of a disaster. During an incident, emergency service personnel may not be able to reach everyone right away. By getting trained in CERT, you will have the skills to help emergency responders save lives and protect property.
As a trained CERT member, you can respond to disasters, participate in drills and exercises and take additional training. CERT is a known and trusted resource to emergency responders and their communities. After the December 8, 2008, tornados that struck Grayson County, trained CERT personnel helped drive and walk the impact areas in the entire county, quickly gathering damage assessment information that was integral to the recovery process. The damage information they obtained established eligibility for Grayson County residents to obtain low interest loans through the Small Business Administration to make needed repairs. In the aftermath of the winter storms in December 2013, many CERT members were used as EOC support personnel, stranded motorist warming center support, etc. OEM has also been activated in support of search and rescue operations for missing seniors as well as feeding operations for firefighters during large wildfires.
What other things do CERT teams do in an emergency?
Under the direction of Grayson County Office of Emergency Management and local response agencies, CERT teams can provide critical support by giving immediate assistance to victims, providing damage assessment information and organizing other volunteers at a disaster site. Volunteers trained in CERT also offers a potential workforce for performing duties such as shelter support, crowd control and evacuation. The role of a CERT volunteer is to help others until trained emergency personnel arrive.
How does CERT help the community?
The CERT program builds strong working relationships between emergency responders and the people they serve. CERT teams also help community year-round by helping with community emergency plans, neighborhood exercises, preparedness outreach, education and safety awareness.
In ninety-five percent of all emergencies, the victim or bystander provides the first immediate assistance on the scene. Would you know what to do?
Each year a new round of classes begins in January, conducted the second Tuesday of each month through September. The training is free and open to the civic minded over 18 years of age. A criminal background check is required.
CERT takes an investment of time: one night each month for nine months. But the training is free and graduates are provided with a CERT go-kit, a backpack full of preparedness tools. The training provides critical skills in emergency preparedness and response. Participants learn how to:
• Identify and anticipate hazards
• Reduce fire hazards in the home and workplace
• Extinguish small fires
• Assist emergency responders
• Conduct light search and rescue
• Set up medical treatment areas in a team response environment
• Apply basic medical techniques
• Held reduce survivor stress
Sarah Somers, Director of Grayson County OEM puts it this way: “Some participants simply complete the training to work on skills and preparedness for their families or workplaces – with no desire to serve in a team environment. Others sign up for the opportunity to serve as volunteers with like-minded, Grayson County residents. Whatever your motivation, you are welcome.”
Who should take CERT training?
• People interested in taking an active role in Grayson County preparedness
• Neighborhood Watch groups
• Community leaders
• Communities of faith
• Homeowner Associations
• Scouting and youth organizations
• Teachers and administrators
• College students
• Members of clubs & civic organizations
• Private business owners and their employees
The CERT program is an integral part of Citizen Corps, the grass-roots movement that actively involves everyone in making our communities and nation safer, stronger, and better prepared. All over America, communities have organized groups such as the Grayson County CERT to inspire people to take action and get involved. To learn more about CERT in Grayson County, just come to the orientation session for 2016:
January 12, 2016
Grayson County College
Center for Workplace Learning Auditorium
6101 Grayson Drive
Somers encourages Grayson County residents to check out the opportunity by coming to the orientation on January 12, 2016: “No cost. No obligation to continue past this session. But…no matter where you live, no matter who you are, we all have a role in Grayson County preparedness. What role will YOU play?”