Emergency responders sought for volunteer disaster team

Residents who’d like to be able to help their neighbors in case of a widespread emergency or disaster are being recruited for Chandler’s Community Emergency Response Team.

Those accepted into the CERT program will receive training one night a week for eight weeks on how to handle emergency situations.

Chandler officials say the purpose of the program is to prepare individuals or groups such as neighborhoods, businesses, community organizations, churches or industries for natural or man-made disasters or terrorist attacks. 

CERT teams may be activated any time a large-scale disaster occurs. In September 2004 the team was activated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to assist in relief efforts taking place in Florida following the effects of hurricane Frances.

CERT members provide critical support to communities in emergencies, give immediate assistance to victims, organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site, and collect disaster intelligence to support the efforts of emergency personnel.

“We believe that every citizen should take this critical training, as it not only teaches them disaster preparedness starting at home, but it enables them to help their community and beyond should a disaster occur,” said Battalion Chief Paul Sullivan.

Experienced fire service professionals conduct the program, and there is no charge to attend the training. To date, approximately 450 people have completed the training program. 

Members of CERT will be given a vest, helmet and ID making them easily identifiable in a disaster situation. The group participates in a drill-type exercise at least once a year and receives updates to their initial training. 

Classes are scheduled per demand and are held for eight consecutive weeks, on various weeknights throughout the year, and can be held on weekends by group request. 

Information: (480) 782-2140.