|CERT training takes place three Saturdays in March.|
Members of the university community and the city of Pomona are invited to participate in the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training program in March.
CERT members are trained in disaster preparedness, fire safety and suppression, disaster medical operations (triage), light search and rescue operations, terrorism, disaster psychology and team organization.
“CERT training turns people into first responders who can handle an emergency until the professional first responders can arrive,” says Debbi McFall, CERT coordinator and emergency services coordinator for the Cal Poly Pomona Police Department.
Tambra Williams, administrative analyst in the Office of Public Affairs, participated in the first CERT training in 2005 and has remained active in the program.
“CERT is a useful way to prepare for disasters because the question isn't – 'If a disaster will happen?' The question is – 'When? ' ” Williams says.
Across the country, CERT programs have proven themselves to be an active and vital part of their communities' preparedness and response capability. For example, CERTs have been used to:
- Distribute and/or install smoke alarms and batteries to the elderly and disabled.
- Assist with evacuations and traffic control.
- Promote community awareness of potential hazards and preparedness measures.
- Supplement staffing at special events, such as parades.
- Act as “victims” in training exercises.
On-going training and monthly meetings keep CERT members active.
The free, 20-hour program is spread out over three Saturdays in March. Training takes place from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., March 3, 10 and 17 at the American Red Cross center on the Cal Poly Pomona campus. People who complete the program are given certificates and emergency response kits, which have materials they would need to perform their jobs during an emergency.
CERT is a team effort between Cal Poly Pomona and the city of Pomona. Participants can contact either Carrie Cruz, who is the city's emergency coordinator, at (909) 620-3741 or Debbi McFall at (909) 869-6981 email@example.com for more information.