Gadsden/Etowah EMA to offer free CERT classes in October


 By Donna Thornton/News Editor

When disaster strikes, many people want to know what they can do to help. The Gadsden Etowah County Emergency Management Agency offers training for citizens so they can help with organized response in times of need.

The EMA’s next session of CERT – Community Emergency Response Team – classes is slated for October, and the agency is registering participants for the free six-day course now.

EMA Deputy Director Denise Cooey said the city conducts CERT training two or three times a year, and has trained about 100 CERT members so far.

Training offered includes search and rescue, first aid training, fire safety training, team organization and other training that will give people the information and tools they need to help the EMA should a disaster occur.

Classes are free. To be certified as a team member, participants must complete all six classes.

Class dates are Oct. 2, 4, 9, 11, 15 and 16 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the EMA offices at 90 Broad Street. Those interested in participating must register for training. To register or for more information, call EMA at 256-549-4575.

Cooey said the EMA called on CERT team members to assist after the April 27, 2011 tornadoes. More often than assisting in the field, she said, CERT members have been tasked with helping the EMA with public education and information efforts – manning booths at the fair or other events.

When participants are certified, Cooey explained, the EMA may call on their assistance. Their work will be coordinated through EMA, she said, to ensure the most effective response effort.

Cooey said EMA will provide participants with the beginnings of a emergency preparedness kit, along with the information about what they need and how to use it.

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