County offers disaster training
Last month, Alachua County was fortunate to escape the wrath of Hurricane Floyd. Had the initial forecast been correct, this area could have seen winds of up to 70 mph and heavy rains for a sustained period. Would you have been prepared to deal with the consequences? Would you have been able to assist your neighbors and friends had they sustained any damages or injuries?
Major emergencies and disasters can be upon us before we realized what's going on, and many times, in the aftermath, emergency support personnel and equipment are strained by the needs of a large population. Sometimes emergency equipment itself is damaged or put out of commission. This is when citizens, trained to recognize immediate needs and how to respond to them, are an invaluable asset to emergency personnel.
Alachua County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) offers an eight-week course to train citizens to prepare for emergencies, recognize hazards, and respond immediately after a disaster to assess needs in their immediate vicinity. Those trained in the class become part of the Alachua County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Members are trained in Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Fire Suppression, Disaster Medical Operations, Light Search and Rescue, Disaster Psychology and Team Organization, and Wildland/Urban Fire Interface. Classes meet once a week and last for 2 1/2 hours. There are videos, slides, practical exercises, and lectures. After completing the class, further training is available on an ongoing basis.
OEM is seeking interested people to form more CERT training classes. If you would like to be a part of the team, contact OEM at 491-4626, or visit the CERT website at: http://www.co.alachua.fl.us/~acem/1cert.htm
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