Carlsbad — Neighbors helping neighbors is the community mantra as volunteers this month complete emergency preparedness and response training courtesy of Carlsbad police and fire departments.
Community Emergency Response Teams get certified twice a year following 24 hours of training spread over nine weeks offered by local police and fire units, according to Lynn Diamond a spokeswoman for the Carlsbad Police Department.
Training is rigorous, and free. Volunteers learn about fire safety, disaster medical operations and light search and rescue techniques. Then they pay it all forward by providing emergency preparedness and response assistance to their neighbors in times of need.
“CERT volunteers play an essential part in a city’s emergency assistance to members of the community,” said David Harrison, the Carlsbad emergency preparedness coordinator. “This is a great opportunity for citizens who are looking for a way to help their community especially in times of emergencies.”
Training for the nine-week Carlsbad CERT volunteer course started Monday, Jan 25. It’s mainly 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Mondays at the Carlsbad Safety Center at 2500 Orion Way.
Volunteers must apply for admission to the free program. They attend an orientation meeting, then complete a background check and medical evaluation signed by a physician showing them to be physically fit to serve.
The program includes classroom and hands-on exercises educating volunteers about the hazards that may affect their community and how to cope as well as organize their neighborhoods. This frees police and fire responders for more pressing duties. Volunteer teams also can respond immediately should professional responders not be available to help.
While this CERT session winds up in March, the next session gears up in June. More information for Carlsbad residents is available at http://www.VolunteerinCarlsbad.net.
— Dan Weisman