Preparing for disasters
When: Begins 8:30 a.m. Sept. 11 and 18
Where: Emergency Services Complex, 470 Crescent Drive, Gainesville
How much: Free
Contact: Download application from www.hall-cert.org and fax completed form to 770-538-0684 or 770-531-6838. For more information call 770-297-3373.
Most people may associate September with Labor Day, but for first responders, the month has extra significance.
“It’s also National Preparedness Month,” said William Wright, Hall County emergency management coordinator. “One thing we’re doing to celebrate the month is hosting CERT training for residents.”
CERT — Community Emergency Response Team — training will be spread over two 10-hour days on Sept. 11 and 18. The 20 hours of training teaches residents about disaster preparedness.
“Anybody is a good candidate. Our focus is to teach people what to do at their home in case of a natural or man-made disaster,” Wright said.
“Trained volunteers in the community can provide critical help to their neighbors during a disaster.”
Ordinarily, the training is spread over 10 weeks, but the county’s emergency management agency has condensed it into two days for this session only. Another CERT training session will be held in January, but it will follow the normal 2 1/2-month schedule.
In the last four years, more than 150 residents have taken advantage of the training, Wright says.
Participants will learn things like basic search and rescue skills and how to handle medical emergencies during a disaster.
They will also learn how to prepare a survival kit for their home.
“Let’s say the power goes out, if you’re prepared you don’t have anything to worry about because you’ll have your candles and flashlights,” Wright said.
When residents take disaster preparedness as seriously as first responders, overall outcomes are better, Wright says.
“Let’s say we have a big ice storm and we can’t get to (a neighborhood) for a few days. If you’re self-sufficient and have your emergency kit, you won’t have any problems,” Wright said.
“You will be able to survive for a few days until we can get to you. I hope that Hall County residents will take this opportunity to prepare themselves for an emergency.”