After nine weeks of rigorous training, the latest Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class has graduated with a real-world exercise that simulated a tornado strike in a Lexington neighborhood. This 30th CERT class brings the total number of trained response team members to more than 350.
“The purpose of CERT is to provide training to individuals, members of neighborhood associations and other groups so in case of an emergency or natural disaster, they can provide immediate help to preserve life, property and the environment until professional first responders can arrive,” said Pat Dugger, Director of Lexington’s Division of Emergency Management. “CERT members also become Preparedness Ambassadors, a group of volunteers who assist with community emergency management programs and exercises.”
The training classes are three hours long and teach disaster preparedness, fire safety and suppression, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, disaster psychology, radio operations, team organization, terrorism incident and accident response. The last class is an actual disaster exercise.
CERT classes began in 2004 and since then, the Division of Emergency Management has organized 30 groups and more than 400 people have completed the coursework.
Depending on class content, instructors come from active members of the Lexington Fire Department, UK Healthcare or the Division of Emergency Management staff. Upon graduation, CERT members receive a backpack filled with preparedness supplies.
The next CERT class will take place in September. Pre-registration for the CERT class is required and class size is limited. Please contact CERT coordinator, Shelley Bendall, at (859) 280-8063 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for registration forms and materials. A more detailed description about the CERT program is available on the government web site at: http://bereadylexington.com/cert/.