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Emergency training materials available

The Community Emergency Response Team program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the 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.

CERT offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization that professional responders can rely on during disaster situations, allowing them to focus on more complex tasks.

The CERT Basic Training includes research-validated guidance for CERT programs to teach members what to do before, during and after the hazards their communities may face. The materials in the training are free to individuals, families and businesses and can be found online at Ready.gov/CERT.

The free materials include instructional guidebooks aimed at instructors and participants, a slide deck or slideshow for quick easy viewing, additional support annexes, and even an online course with exam to test your skills and knowledge. There are nine instructional units that you can learn from the comfort of your own home.

Many agencies around the U.S. offer free in-person training sessions. If course delivery dates are unavailable in your area, or simply don’t meet your scheduling needs, you don’t have to delay immersing yourself in the opportunity to learn the invaluable course material because it’s free and available to the public. Online training materials are available in several languages, including English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.

CERT training programs exist in all 50 states, in addition to the U.S. territories and tribal nations. There are over 2,700 programs nationwide, and more than 600,000 individuals have been trained since it became a national program in 1993.

For those seeking a COVID-friendly opportunity, but are looking for a dynamic engaging opportunity, the National CERT Association, in partnership with the University of Utah, Utah Division of Emergency Management, and the Listos California Emergency Preparedness Campaign developed a hybrid CERT training that offers an alternative option for delivering the CERT basic course. This would be appropriate for those wanting to learn the material though not interested in volunteering as a CERT member.

CERT volunteerism can be a very rewarding experience as you assist your community when disaster strikes. Local volunteers assist in missions such as firefighter rehab, neighborhood evacuations, damage assessment, staffing call centers, radio communications, and even assisting Jackson County Search & Rescue. You must take the training to become a volunteer; however, there is never any pressure for you to become an active volunteer. Training is free and open to the public regardless. If the missions sound exciting to you, CERT might be right for you.

CERT volunteers work in teams to achieve the goals and tactics of each mission. They are always ready for their call to duty.

To learn more about the hybrid CERT training model, see nationalcert.org/CERTPDR/HybridCERT or check out the local program at AshlandCERT.org.

Terri Stewart, the local CERT program coordinator, can be reached at terri.stewart@ashland.or.us or by calling 541-552-2226.

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