12/9/2012 7:18 PM
by Rebecca Turco
Folks in Greenbrier County learned how to protect themselves and others after completing their final class Sunday to join a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
CERT is a national program whose purpose is to teach the general public basic tools to help the community during a disaster. Putting out fires correctly was just one of several disaster response skills these new members of the Western Greenbrier CERT learned.
Al Whitaker, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in Greenbrier County, said the CERT can aid local emergency responders for the first 48 to 72 hours after a catastrophe, until state and federal aid arrive.
Whitaker explained that with the Derecho in June and Superstorm Sandy in October, it's important to be prepared on a local level. "We don't know what we're going to get hit with. And with the weather ever-changing...we need to be prepared."
New CERT member Cindy Midkiff of Rainelle agreed. "[It's] not if we'll have another storm or snowstorm, it's when. And we will be ready."
This base-level CERT program requires 16 hours of lessons. Additional programs require more experience and get more in-depth with disaster assistance techniques.