Community Emergency Response Team training for residents

Special to The Dallas Examiner

The City of Dallas Office of Emergency Management will offer Community Emergency Response Team classes for neighborhoods, community organizations or workplaces, this month. The free classes are taught by emergency personnel and cover basic emergency response skills.

“Community leaders, particularly those working with homeowner associations, may wish to build more community spirit and enhance cooperation when disasters happen – such as a public health emergency and severe weather events,” said Director of Emergency Management Rocky Vaz.

The training emphasizes personal accountability for self, family and community by stressing the importance of personal preparedness and accountability. Prior to an emergency, CERT members are expected to have an awareness of their own neighborhoods, and to pre-determine possible evacuation sites that will facilitate effective, safe and rapid response to emergencies.

The course will be offered at the Dallas Fire-Rescue Training Academy, located at 5000 Dolphin Road on Jan. 16 and Jan. 23 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Jan. 30 from 8 a.m. to noon.

Training sessions will cover: disaster preparedness, light search and rescue, team organization, disaster psychology, terrorism and CERT, fire safety, disaster medical operations and more.

During a major emergency, when first responders are unable to respond immediately, CERT team members:

• Assume leadership roles and coordinate spontaneous volunteers.

• Assess situations and properly brief emergency responders when they arrive.

• Recognize the potential hazards associated with a particular type of event and take appropriate action.

• Assist others with the emotional distress associated with major emergencies and disaster conditions.

• Administer first aid and/or triage casualties.

CERT members have proven themselves nationally to be an active and vital part of their communities’ preparedness and response capability. For example, CERT members have been used to:

• Build a network of trained citizens within neighborhoods, businesses and places of worship to assist with basic emergency response when emergencies or disaster strike.

• Assist with evacuations and traffic control.

• Promote community awareness of potential hazards and preparedness measures.

• Supplement staffing at special events such as parades and public safety activities.

• Portray victims in training exercises.

With the assistance of the Dallas Police Department’s Interactive Community Policing Unit and established Crime Watch, homeowner’s associations, civic and church groups, the program has grown phenomenally since 2007. Many CERT participants already belong to other community service or social organizations including Volunteers in Policing, crime watches, neighborhood and homeowner’s associations, NAACP, the Christian and Islamic communities, and city of Dallas employees.

The training offers citizens an opportunity to take personal responsibility for themselves and their families, and to support their community during an emergency or disaster in the city of Dallas.

Classes can also be designed specifically to a neighborhood and at convenient days, times and locations. Each class must include at least 10 participants. Appropriate time to complete all sessions is 24 hours. All sessions are required to be completed for certification. Please contact Cassandra Wallace for more information.

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