In the event of large-scale natural disasters, first responders are often spread thin and can’t be everywhere where help is needed. That’s where members of the community who are part of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program come in.
The Phoenix CERT program exists to support the mission of the Phoenix Homeland Defense Bureau. The Bureau consists of the Phoenix Fire Department, Phoenix Police Department, the Office of Emergency Management, and the Department of Public Health.
The CERT program helps train people to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations in their communities. After a disaster, first responders (fire and police) and other government service providers are overwhelmed. Public services cannot be delivered everywhere that help is needed. Experience has shown that in a disaster setting, ordinary citizens make over 80 percent of successful rescues as they respond to the emergency in their community. However, many untrained volunteer rescuers actually may cause harm or become injured in the process.
When emergencies happen, CERT members can give critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site. CERT members can also help with non-emergency projects that help improve the safety of the community.
The CERT course is taught by a trained team of first responders and community members who have completed a CERT train-the-trainer course. You’ll learn many basic first-aid skills as well as how to set up a treatment area, how to use safe techniques for debris removal and victim extraction, how to work as a team to apply basic fire suppression strategies, and more.
The next 20-hour training session is set for July 13-15 at the Phoenix Fire Administration Building, 150 S. 12th St. Training hours are 6-10 p.m. Friday, and 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. To register for the next training session, visit https://www.phoenix.gov/fire/directory/cert. Be sure to sign up for all three days.
Prior to class you will need to fill out the CERT Application, which can be downloaded from that site as well. Fill out your CERT application, then save it and send it via e-mail to: Phoenixcert@gmail.com. For more information, call 602-534-9206.