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Disasters Cause Problems, CERT Volunteers Offer Solutions

Rather than sitting home in the dark, free training classes empower residents with the skills needed to help their community weather the next big storm.

The next time a natural disaster like Tropical Storm Irene hits Monroe, you can be equipped with the skills to help your family, neighbors and friends.

The town's Department of Emergency Management is offering a free training program for Fairfield County residents age 18 and older, who are interested in being part of a local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

"It is anticipated that CERT volunteers will provide valuable assistance to our first responders since they will be trained and ready to help Monroe police, fire, Volunteer Emergency Medical Services (VEMS) along with shelter personnel, as well as residents and neighbors when a disaster strikes," said David York, director of Monroe Emergency Management.

Free training sessions will be held on selected Thursday evenings in April and May as well as two Saturday mornings in May. Most of the training sessions will be held in the Ehlers Community Room in the Edith Wheeler Memorial Library.

CERT volunteers will actively assist Monroe's Emergency Services during emergencies such as snow storms, floods or natural and man-made incidents.

Ernest Heidelberg, president of the Westport CERT and a DEMHS-certified CERT Trainer, will lead the sessions. Local instructors from the town police, fire and EMS will assist in the training. Those interested in being certified as CERT members must train for a minimum of 20 hours.

CERT volunteers are trained in a variety of emergency skills such as disaster psychology, first aid, CPR and AED, fire safety, traffic control, hazardous materials awareness, emergency shelters, light search and rescue, disaster scenarios and terrorism.

Those interested in becoming a part of the team should contact CERT via e-mail at CERT@Monroect.org, or call EMD York (203-650-8474) or Deputy EMD Captain Flick (203-261-3622) or visit www.Monroect.org/cert.aspx

Important Details

The class is limited to 25 people. Participants must be Fairfield County residents who are 18 years or older. The class begins in less than four weeks. All are encouraged to register now.

Classes are in April and May and comprise of 20 hours of training. The full schedule can be found on www.Monroect.org/cert.aspx.

Classes will be held at Edith Wheeler Memorial Library, Monroe EMS Training Room at Chalk Hill School, Monroe Fire Station #2.

Classes are free. There is no charge for training or materials.

The classes are sponsored by Monroe Emergency Management and the Monroe Police Department.

Christian Burgess March 25, 2012 at 12:40 AM
FYI the Disaster Distress Helpline is a new service funded by SAMHSA that offers 24/7, year-round crisis counseling and support to individuals and families experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or man-made disaster. Call toll-free 1-800-985-5990 or text 'talkwithus' to 66746 if you or someone you know needs support.

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