Lately I have run into two cities and one county that is crying “we need more tax money for first responders!” Yet they violently (yup I said violently) oppose CERTs and threaten to have them arrested if they show up on site. As for the show up on site issue, I have said it before, CERTs and other volunteers should not self deploy. With that said, such an angry attitude against free help shows me the requestors (Mayors, Councilmen, Administrators et al) only want power, not to help the citizens of their communities.
Here are a ready, prepared, group of people that want to VOLUNTEER (as in free) and help their communities. Fire Corps, Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS), Sheriffs “Posses”, Paramedics / hospitals and clinics should all get with their County Emergency Management Director (EMD) and immediately start monthly meetings and quarterly trainings with their CERTs.
As a rule of thumb CERT falls under the Citizens Corps Umbrella along with many Civic Duty opportunities.
In my previous articles I have extolled the skills possessed and training available to County EMD and those that have obtained their CERT.
In addition to the information in those articles, CERTs can be counted on to assist finding in missing / lost children, directing traffic at an accident until Law Enforcement shows up (even afterwards – been there done that), rendering lifesaving first aid until EMT show up (Christian County CERTs receive FREE EMS training if they want), performing damage assessment after disasters (natural and manmade) so EMD’s can be in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) performing high level work. Fire fighters need water to drink, a chair to sit on or even someone to hold a covering / umbrella over their head in the heat of summer, CERT volunteers via Fire Corps are qualified to do that.
Each County should use its own local people as often as possible, it builds relationships and strengthens communities. When the EMD uses CERTs then the Sheriff, Fire Department and other City and County first responders get to know and then trust their citizens; this builds citizen trust with the local government bodies. Plain, simple and effective, what a plan!
CERTS are the people who are dependable, responsible, TRAINED and ready to serve.
Until we meet again, have a disaster free week!