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CERT is short for Community Emergency Response Team.
Keys residents are known for their eagerness and willingness to respond to tragic events and disasters. Many want to help, offer their services, and be a part of the solution. Yet in the middle of such an event there may be confusion as to where or how they can assist.
A CERT provides a well-organized structure, with effective communications, to help identify the scope of the incident, understand the plan and the logistical requirements, and deploy the team safely and efficiently.
The team does the following:
People who go through CERT training have a better understanding of the potential threats to their home, workplace and community. They can take the right steps to lessen the effects of these hazards on themselves, their homes, their neighbors, or their workplace.
Properly trained, they would:
To become a member of the CERT a volunteer must complete required training, such as:
Disaster is typically considered an event that causes injury, loss of life, and widespread damage. Citizens trained in the manner proposed should also be able to deal more effectively with daily emergencies. They can then advise responders of the pre-emptive steps that have been taken. This might include:
In addition, members can also assist with non-emergency projects that improve the safety of the community. CERTs have been used to assist in fire safety awareness, distribute disaster education material, and provide services at specials events, such as parades, sporting events and festivals
The "team," in its most general sense, would refer to the group of citizens that seek training and share a common interest in becoming more aware of the problems and solutions that may affect them, their families, and their neighborhood. The graduate of this course is encouraged to go back to their community and garner the interest necessary to form "neighborhood teams" that can prepare for and respond to each other’s needs in the event of an impending or actual emergency situation.
The graduate of the CERT Program is made aware of the problems that they could face during a major emergency. They share this information with friends in their neighborhood. As these friends learn of the availability of information that could enhance their family’s safety, interests in certain areas of personal preference or potential expertise emerge. People will seek new knowledge in areas that they find of interest or that they are capable of performing.
Some people are good at "hands-on" tasks; others feel comfortable with leadership, support or documentation duties. Keys residents enjoy a challenge, especially a challenge that makes them feel philanthropic, or gives them a feeling of the "right to belong" to the community where they live. As the interest in this "new challenge" grows, so do the number of people that want to belong to this "New Team" that is emerging in our community.
Email Alan Averette or call the Key West Fire Department at 305-809-3933.