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Protect Yourself And Others With CERT Training In Somerset County

Brenda A. Nemcek

Sunday, April 20, 2014 • 11:31am

HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - Disasters can strike quickly and without much warning. Would you know what to do if local emergency personnel were overwhelmed during a disaster or unable to access your neighborhood for up to 72 hours?   
 
Freeholder Deputy Director Mark Caliguire, public health and safety liaison, invites residents to take advantage of the upcoming Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training hosted by the Somerset County Office of Emergency Management, starting Thursday, May 1. Seating is limited to the first 50 residents. Registration forms are due by Monday, April 28.  
 
Classes will be held at the Somerset County Emergency Services Training Academy, located at 402 Roycefield Road in Hillsborough, from 7 to 10 p.m. on May 1, 6, 8, 13 and 15 and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 3 and 17.   
 
The CERT program is free for Somerset County residents. Students who complete all modules will receive a CERT certificate of completion.    
 
“Somerset County is fortunate to have so many well-trained emergency responders who do a wonderful job and who are dedicated to serving their communities,” said Freeholder Caliguire. “But, depending on the emergency and the scope of the county or regional situation, our first responders may not be able to reach all areas of the county right away. For that reason, we are offering CERT training to help our residents stay safe during disasters.  
 
“Protecting yourself and your family during an emergency requires planning. Just as emergency personnel train and prepare in advance for disaster, residents also can take training classes,” he said.  
 
Residents who complete CERT training will have a better understanding of the potential threats to their home and community, and can take the right steps to lessen the effects of these hazards on themselves and their families.   
 
“Although people without training do respond to others in need during emergencies, the goal of the CERT program is to help residents do so effectively and efficiently without placing themselves in unnecessary danger,” said Freeholder Caliguire.
 
CERT training is intended to give people the decision-making, organizational and practical skills to offer immediate assistance to family members, neighbors and associates while waiting for help. Participants will learn about disaster preparedness and will receive training in basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue and disaster medical operations.  
 
“We are very pleased with the interest that previous CERT programs have received.  Thanks to programs run in 2012 and January 2013, Somerset County now has close to 150 residents ready, willing and able to assist family and friends in their communities,” said Freeholder Caliguire.  “No doubt many more residents could benefit from this experience and the sense of control that comes with knowledge and training.”  
 
To learn more, visit www.citizencorps.gov/cert.   
 
For more information about the CERT training program or to receive a registration form, contact Somerset County CERT Coordinator Tony DeMatteo, Somerset County Office of Emergency Management, at (908) 725-5070 or dematteo@co.somerset.nj.us. 
 
A registration form and course schedule are available by clicking here and going to the “CERT Training” entry.  
 
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