Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
WHAT WE DO:
CERT is 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. While people will respond to others in need without
the training, one goal of the CERT Program is to help them do so effectively and efficiently without placing themselves in
unnecessary danger. In the CERT training, citizens learn to:
For Training Sessions, contact:
John Castillo, (909) 985-2156 - Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Emergency Response Team is a national volunteer disaster response program sponsored by FEMA
and the Citizen Corps. CERT is a training program designed to give citizens advanced training to help themselves and
neighbors in the event of an emergency and in advance of the arrival of first responders.
The training program is a 20 hour course
which focuses on Triage, First Aid, Disaster Response, Light Search and Rescue and Fire Fighting. If you would like
more information about CERT, click here. Also visit the County's site at http://www.sbcfire.org/oes/csc_cert.asp
We are looking for volunteers to participate in upcoming training sessions. If you are interested, please
contact CERT Volunteer Training coordinator, John Castillo, at 985-2156 or email@example.com
The Association's Fire Safe Council was contacted by Supervisor Paul Biane's office at the end of 2007 and
asked if they were interested in a CERT Training Program offered by San Bernardino County and coordinated by the Office of
Emergency Training. Gary Crites, Chairperson of the Fire Safe Council, accepted the invitation and organized the first session
which was held in January. Included in the program was what to do during and after disasters like earthquakes.
San Bernardino County firefighters also trained participants in survival and rescue skills, fire safety, response and
triage. The team does not do lifesaving tactics. The goal is to have residents capable of securing their own home and family
first, then care for the neighbors and community.
A team of sixteen residents of San Antonio Heights participated in the Community Emergency Response program conducted
by the San Bernardino County Fire Department. Residents completed 21 hours of training during three seven-hour sessions. Yes,
residents committed and gave up three Saturdays consecutively but all earned their certificates and a burning desire to continue
with monthly training as a team to perfect their skills. This was a truly a diversified group of individuals ranging in age
from twenties to sixties, from a variety of backgrounds, each bringing knowledge and experience to the group. The group was
so enthusiastic, we could hardly get them to break for lunch even when being enticed with delicious pizza from our local Giuseppe's
Included also in the program were steps the team could take proactively until the arrival of emergency personnel. Fire
safety, identifying and reducing potential fire risks, procedures for safe firefighting and hazardous materials identification
were explained by Battalion Chief Barry Fox. Each was given the opportunity to use a fire extinguisher. Although there are
instructions on the extinguisher, there is nothing more valuable than actually using one. The team was very receptive to learning
how to reduce hazards in their own homes. Ways to share this information with all residents will be one of the Team's goals.
Captain John Flesher and Lt. Rich Solometo presented the training on disaster medical operations which included life
threatening conditions, how to recognize and treat an airway obstruction, bleeding and shock. Team members worked on other
members with fire personnel observing and helping as necessary. Conducting rescue operations was of major importance and the
sessions were concluded with a "hands on" exercise and the team performing the rescue of fire personnel being the victims
of an earthquake.
At a recent CERT meeting, the team tentatively assigned each member to a responsibility, i.e., team leader, administrative
duties, drills, leadership development, section leaders, recruiting, supplies, etc. Also, each member will share at the next
gathering any valuable tools that would be beneficial to add to the CERT backpack.
Although, we certainly hope San Antonio Heights will not encounter a disaster; if it does, this team is prepared and
will work to be better prepared. Without any doubt, this was one of the most motivated, energetic and creative group of individuals
I have worked with during my service in this community. Our time has not been wasted, much has been learned and I believe
will be put in place in many of our every day lives.
Our thanks to the members of the Fire Safe Council Gary Crites, Mike Holzman, Donna Hawthorne, Dianne Allen and Cat Stines
who spent many hours recruiting and putting this program together. Residents completing the first session were Dianne Allen,
Peggy Bass, Mike Cloud, Gary Crites, Daniel Farris, Eric Grubb (Team Captain) Donna Hawthorne, Mike Holzman, Greg Killinger,
Valerie Killinger, Cris Mateski, Paige Moore, Nancy Speaker, Paul Speaker, Joseph Staub and Cat Stines. CERT is a link to
the Fire Safe Council.
There will be two additional sessions offered with the first one to be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings beginning
April 15th and tentatively scheduled for 6:30pm to 10pm. Information regarding these sessions can be obtained by leaving your
name and address with the SAHA message phone (909) 985-6996.
- Donna Hawthorne, CERT Member