Hodge says this training course will prepare local residents and first responders alike how to respond to the aftermath of a community-wide natural disaster.

In April, Camden County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will be working alongside FEMA to host a Search and Rescue in community disasters training session. CERT member Gerry Hodge says that they are hosting it at this time in order to prepare for the coming season of weather changes. 

Hodge says this training course will prepare local residents and first responders alike how to respond to the aftermath of a community-wide natural disaster. He says many times in these scenarios, neighbors will rush to help one another and end up becoming injured as well. This course aims to teach proper treatment of these scenarios to help everyone involved.

Among the specific topics being taught, FEMA includes developing a mindset to survive the disaster, using survival strategies to care for yourself, family and pets in the aftermath of a disaster and providing assistant in search, light rescue and care of your neighbors. 

The course needs between 24-36 members to be present to hold a training session. Hodge says that, if they exceed this number, they need to make FEMA aware before Feb. 18 so that they can move the seminar to another location. Currently, the training will be held at the Camdenton VFW center. This training is sponsored by a FEMA grant. 

“You really need to be cautious when these things happen,” Hodge said. 

Hodge says he’s proud to have the CERT team be a part of this training and to be a part of the volunteering work they provide to the area year round.

The CERT program is full of volunteers that are ready at a moment’s notice when a disaster strikes in a local area. When the need is there, these volunteers work alongside first responders to aid in the many needs surrounding most types of natural disaster.

Aside from on the scene help, CERT members will also make tents with supplies ready at the scene to help those in need get help fast. CPR training is also given to members to assist with any immediate triage. 

“The system we have is ready right away,” Hodge said. “It’s like clockwork.” 

With the need always present, Hodge says the CERT team is looking to expand its ranks and bring in new members. March 11, Camden County CERT will be holding an open house to showcase the different training available to community members. Those who sign up will be put through a training course and receive a special certificate, notating their readiness to help. 

The CERT open house will be held March 11 at 5:30 at the Camden County EMA building next to the VFW center. Those looking to sign-up for the Community Disaster course in April need to go to cdp.dhs.gov/femasid to receive a SID number which can then be used to sign up for the course on SEMATraining.com. This training will be held in two sessions, one on April 5 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. and another on April 6 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.