March 11, 2008
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Emergency Training Available For Community Volunteers
St. JAMES— Dent County resident interested in volunteering during emergency situations are encouraged to take advantage of a three-day course offered March 28-30 in Salem. The 20-hour training is offered free of charge. The classes are from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, March 28, and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 29, and 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, March 30 at the Dent County Fire Protection District firehouse, #2 South Main, Salem.
The training will introduce participants to the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) concept of preparing civilians to proactively organize and train for a disaster. CERT trainings cover disaster fire suppression, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, disaster psychology and team organization. Certified CERT instructor Terry Bruno will teach the course.
The class is sponsored by Meramec Regional Planning Commission and the Region I Homeland Security Oversight Committee in partnership with the Dent County Emergency Management Office and the Dent County Fire Protection District. Lunch will be provided for participants on Saturday and Sunday.
Persons interested in participating should contact Amy McMillen at MRPC, 573-265-2993 or by email at amcmillen at meramecregion.org.
Deadline for registration is March 24.
“We recognize that this training requires a significant investment of time,” Tammy Snodgrass, MRPC’s environmental programs manager, said, “and that is because of the importance of the work that volunteers will be doing in emergencies. We hope businesses will support their employees who are interested in attending the training. When a disaster strikes, those needing help may be your own employees, and having people who are able to act appropriately and professional teams prepares our region for dealing with emergencies,” she added.
This class is a part of a program sponsored by the Region I Homeland Security Oversight Committee. The intent is to build a stronger, well-trained volunteer base in the six county-region, that includes Crawford, Dent, Maries, Phelps, Pulaski and Laclede counties by providing CERT trainings. The second piece of the project will be to find venues for volunteers to become more involved in emergency preparedness in their individual communities and neighborhoods.
Snodgrass added that a local community should be prepared to take care of itself for the first 72-hours of a disaster. That’s about how long it takes for state and federal resources to be mobilized. “CERT teams ensure that trained volunteers are available to fill that void and provide the best assistance and care possible when disaster strikes, she added.