CERT Community Emergency Response Team

I had a question on Facebook from a very dear friend today so I thought this would be the perfect thing to blog about. My friend’s question was;  What is CERT?

I was born and raised in Arizona, as a matter of fact when I was a kid Bell Road was just a single lane dirt road, as I grew up Phoenix also grew up. I started to want a small town again but most of my work is in the Phoenix, Glendale, Peoria and Scottsdale area. I found a small town with an easy 25 minute commute to the areas I work. That town is #BlackCanyonCity. So I have been a resident of Black Canyon City for several years now and because our only access are two exits off of I-17 I  started thinking what if something were to happen in our town like a fire or flood and both North bound and South bound lanes of  I-17 were closed ? ?? So two years ago I stumble across the Daisy Mountain Fire Department Citizen Corp web site and started reading about their CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Team. I reached out to them about receiving training. I received an email telling me that they would let me know as soon as they started training again. I finally received an email inviting me to attend their training, eight weeks later I received my Certificate for completing CERT training. But the problem was I was in Yavapai County and even though Daisy Mountain (New River, Desert Hills and Anthem) are Black Canyon City’s neighbors they are in Maricopa County. After all that training and not be able to use it to help my community left me searching again, I was finally able to make contact with Yavapai County Emergency Management who had started a CERT program with Eric Lash as the Coordinator. I was able to get Eric Lash and Marty Caldwell to come to our small town and do a two and half day CERT training program. We had about 20 students (including me).  After that long weekend we were all CERT certified for Yavapai County! The crazy thing is two days later our town had a flood and I-17 North and South bound lanes were shut down due to rock slides and  #flooding.. Chief Birch of the Black Canyon City Fire Department called me that morning and asked for the CERT members help! We were able to use all of our training to help our community, this freed up the Black Canyon City Fire Department to take care of more important things like search and rescue.

So what is CERT ?  The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program helps train people to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations in their communities. When emergencies happen, CERT members can give support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, and organize spontaneous volunteer at a disaster site. CERT members can also help with non-emergency projects that help improve the safety of their community.

Here are the areas of training that we receive: Disaster Preparedness, Fire Safety, Disaster Medical Operations 1, Disaster Medical Operations 2, Light Search and Rescue Operations, CERT Organization, Disaster Psychology, Terrorism and CERT, then we have the course review, participate in real time practice disaster simulations, and then take a written exam.

My thoughts on CERT is that it teaches self-reliance. Will there ever be a time when your fire department, or police department are working a disaster and cannot help you, your family or others in your community?  Natural and Man Made disasters can and do happen everywhere! So if you want to be more self-reliant, help your family, neighborhood and community with the skills that are taught in CERT classes that can help save and sustain lives until help arrives take some time and find a CERT class near you.

I would like to give a SHOUT OUT to the Daisy Mountain CERT Team & Paul Schickel who made it possible for me to obtain my CERT Training and Certificate, you guys not only help and love your community you also made a HUGE impact in my life! The second shout out I would like to give is to Eric Lash, Martin Caldwell and the Yavapai County Emergency Management, for taking the time to come and give training here in Black Canyon City! All of you ROCK!


If you would like to check out the basic overview of CERT training click here