Following a major disaster, first responders who provide fire and medical services will have to prioritize the use of their response resources. Individual preparedness, as well as the ability to safely and effectively assist others, allows members of the community to care for themselves until more help arrives. FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) began promoting the nationwide use of Community Emergency Response Teams in 1994 as a means to connect the professional response community with the people they serve.
The CERT program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.
The Vista CERT program is offering a training program beginning April 11 and meeting on Tuesday nights at 6:30 pm until May 30. Enrollment and materials are free of charge and open to individuals 18 years of age or older, or those 16 and 17 years old with a signed permission slip and waiver from their parents. Upon completion of the course, participants will be invited to join the Vista CERT team, although doing so is not a requirement. Please visit the Vista CERT website at www.vistacert.org to sign up or email Ned Vander Pol at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information can be found at www.vistacert.org and