LETTER TO THE EDITOR: CERT can use people of many capabilities

Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 11:25 AM.

Often, when we talk about the Crestview Community Emergency Response Team, most individuals focus on the physically demanding tasks CERT members receive training on: light search and rescue, triage and first aid.

What many people don’t realize is the vast number of skills needed to make CERT successful. Skills are needed to build and maintain our team so members can respond at a moment’s notice, provide logistical support during incidents and fulfill various support functions when working with the Crestview Fire Department.

We are working toward establishing our team as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, a process none of our current team members is versed in.
We are frequently engaged in outreach, addressing various groups, organizations and the general public on issues of preparedness and its importance.

In the event of a disaster, individuals are needed to track teams and their progress; keep track of patients from arrival at triage to dispatch at medical facilities; perform communications tasks at the Crestview Emergency Operation Center, or EOC, and potentially the Okaloosa EOC.

In conjunction with the Crestview Fire Department, our team is developing a training plan for large incidents and disasters — performing firefighter rehabilitation, and periodically assisting with communications in the Crestview EOC. Training for these tasks and most other training will be provided at no cost to CERT members.

Many of the tasks don’t require a high level of physical fitness. They require an enthusiasm to assist the team in the day-to-day business of CERT; the desire to learn; a desire to assist the community in a time of need; and a willingness to work together as a team to accomplish potentially difficult tasks. CERT needs members who possess various skills, strengths and capabilities.

Individuals, whether young or mature, can be a valued member of the team.

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