Ashland’s Community Emergency Response Team
Ashland’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) continues to highlight civic engagement with well-trained, highly prepared volunteers willing and capable of supporting Ashland Fire & Rescue’s response missions and other response agencies. CERT volunteers receive baseline training in specific areas of response to align with emergency response agencies and provide critical support where and when needed. CERT volunteers are instrumental in assisting with the city’s Emergency Operations Center functions due to training and knowledgeable in the systemic approach of obtaining, tracking, displaying and understanding information during an incident.
The Ashland CERT training program includes fire suppression, disaster medical operations, urban search and rescue, incident command systems (the emergency response organizational structure), disaster psychology, two-way radio operations, and hazardous response procedures. Advanced training opportunities include the Be Ready, Be Set, Go evacuation protocols, firefighter rehab, emergency vehicle operations, shelter operations, traffic flagging and specific agency assist procedures.
Ashland is proud to support one of the most robust CERT programs in the Rogue Valley with more than 200 active members. CERT trainees understand how to effectively help their families, neighbors and entire community following an incident where paid response personnel are overwhelmed. They receive knowledge and practical skills that allow them to effectively help others without harming themselves or further injuring others. The assistance CERTs provide to their family and friends, neighbors, and the general community at large is immeasurable.
Ashland Fire & Rescue (AF&R) provides CERT training free of charge and two annual sessions are open to the public. While the upcoming spring session is full, another session will be held in October. AF&R encourages you to consider participating in a training session in the future. More information is available at: ashlandcert.org and by calling 541-552-2226. CERT is a community-based program with a mission and core competency of preparing our community to endure disasters through resiliency only attainable by having the proper understanding of disaster basics and how to be prepared before disaster strikes.
CERT also facilitates other community-based programs and opportunities including the beloved Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) program. The MYN program continues to provide community outreach through its nine steps to preparedness. Community members have the opportunity to partake in the free program adopted and administered locally through the CERT program. MYN encompasses small neighborhood disaster planning and response incorporating the individual neighbors’ skills and expertise and equipment inventory into planning for a catastrophic event.
The MYN program attempts to promote readiness and action among neighbors through the response planning process. Neighbors taking advantage of the planning program identify individual needs of families with small children, pets and elderly and infirm and what appropriate actions are necessary to respond to these neighbors in a disaster. The program is offered throughout the year. Contact the CERT office for more information.
Terri Eubanks is the Ashland CERT Program Coordinator. The Alarm Box, a column with local public safety information, appears triweekly in the Tidings.