The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) provides critical assistance to first responders and community members in Carter County during everyday disasters.
Beginning next week, community members will have a chance to receive the training required to be a part of the team — or to simply become more prepared.
The free, three-day long CERT Basic Training Course will be held from 5:30 to 10 p.m. on Oct. 4 and from 7:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 5 and 6 at the Carter County Emergency Management office, located at 35 A St. SW in Ardmore.
Emergency Management Director and CERT program manager Paul Tucker said individuals are required to attend all three days of the training and pass a background check and final exam to become a certified CERT member by the end of the course.
“We try to offer it once a year. However, last year we weren’t able to get one scheduled,” Tucker said. “So this year we did manage to get one scheduled and this will be the fifth time since we started the program.”
The course takes individuals through different topics based on disasters and various types of emergencies CERT volunteers might encounter while assisting victims and first responders out in the filed, Tucker said.
“There’s a lot of training involved in there that could be very beneficial for them to prepare for disasters of any type,” Tucker said. “It may be just like a home fire, it’s not necessarily a disaster on a large scale, like a personal disaster or something like that.”
Examples of topics to be discussed range from fire safety and suppression, to basic disaster medical operations, to light search and rescue options — all taught by first responders and other subject matter experts are brought in to instruct each session, Tucker said.
A psychology teacher will be instructing a segment on disaster psychology and a law enforcement officer will be discussing a section on terrorism.
“The CERT team is always looking for volunteers,” Tucker said. “Once you become a member, we have several other areas of training that you can do also.”
However, individuals don’t have to want to join the CERT team to attend the course. The training is also useful for those simply looking to gain a better understanding of emergency management and to become better prepared for disasters, Tucker said.
“It is open to the public and it is free,” Tucker said. “The only requirement is that if you’re under 18 years of age, we request a parental release form to be signed.”
To pre-register for the CERT Basic Training Course, visit http://cartercountyema.org/original/cert/training/training.html or call the Carter County Emergency Management office at 580-223-7937.