Cobb County’s Community Emergency Response Team offers volunteer training opportunity in May

The Railroad Disaster to the West India Mail Near Blackshear, Georgia, an engraving from a photograph published in Harper's Weekly, March 1888

Do you know what to do in the event of a crisis in your area?  Would you like to be able to protect yourself, your family, and help neighbors when such an event occurs?

Applications are being accepted for next month’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) course, which will be held May 12, 19 and 26.  According to an email announcement, “In March, these trained volunteers have stepped up to lead and organize three separate searches for missing persons. Previously, members have assisted in police training events, performed disaster damage assessments and supplemented staffing for the county’s Emergency Operation Center to keep it ready for crises.”

The training includes “disaster preparedness, first aid, evaluating wounded patients, fire suppression, team organization and conducting searches.”

The CERT website gives the schedule of the three-session course:

CERT training consists of the following:
  • Emergency Preparedness: Addresses hazards to which people are vulnerable in their communities. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during, and after disasters.

  • Fire Safety: Briefly covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards, and fire suppression strategies. However, the thrust of this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, sizing up situations, controlling utilities, and extinguishing small fires.

  • Medical Operations Part I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstructions, bleeding, and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.

  • Medical Operations Part II: Covers evaluating patients by doing head-to-toe assessments, establishing a medical treatment area, performing basic first aid, and practicing in a safe and sanitary manner.

  • Light Search and Rescue Operations: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size up, search techniques, rescue techniques, and most important, rescuer safety.

  • Disaster Psychology and Team Organization: Participants learn about problems in organizing teams under emergency conditions and operating a neighborhood command post. Students learn concepts of resource procurement and allocation, disaster psychology, damage assessment, and documentation.

  • Terrorism and CERT: Focuses on CERT operations before a disaster such as long-term planning, how to organize a neighborhood, evaluate available resources, and identify people with special needs.

The county would like to have more volunteers to fill this important role in the community.  The classes are designed for 30 participants, but according to the CERT email, typical sign-up lately has been 15-20.  So if you would like to be trained help yourself, your family, and your neighbors in times of crisis, this is an excellent opportunity.

Cobb Emergency Management Agency public programs coordinator Bernard King said in the announcement for the classes, “This training is needed more and more because civilians are typically the initial responders at incidents and are on the scene at the time. This was the case in Boston, Paris and Las Vegas.”

In an earlier conversation with the Courier, King said, “What is the number one threat we all face in the way of disasters? Fires. Wherever we live, work, worship, everywhere we go there could be a fire. How do you plan?  How do you respond?  How do you recover from that? If you make a plan, if you create an awareness about it, and you decide how you’re going to respond before it ever occurs, then you’ve worked it out a little bit in your brain, and your learning curve is not as big.”

For more information, and to fill out an application visit the CERT website here.

CERT wrote in the announcement, “Once completed, this online application will be submitted to the Cobb County EMA for processing. You will need to send a legible copy of your driver’s license via e-mail to to complete the application process. Please call (770) 499-4568 if you need assistance.”