By Bo Wriston, Director
Wirt County Office of Emergency Services

Grantsville - The Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is seeking members in 2012, and holding a training class for Calhoun County at the Brooksville Baptist Church in Big Bend.

The CERT Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help.

Started by the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985, CERT has been adopted and expanded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Emergency Management Institute (EMI), and National Fire Academy to communities throughout the United States.

Today, Los Angeles CERT has more than 30,000 members alone. Nationally, over 1,100 communities have active CERT programs. The Mid-Ohio Valley Regional (MOVR) CERT program is spearheaded by the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department.

In 2012, MOVR CERT members will be concentrating their activities on basic disaster search and rescue techniques, the Project Lifesaver search program, Disaster Assessment Team (DAT) training, Weather Spotter training, Amateur Radio Technician certifications, Global Positioning System (GPS) training, basic CPR and First Aid certifications, and on-line National Incident Management System (NIMS) training.

Additionally, members of MOVR CERT will be participating in numerous statewide, regional, and local disaster and preparedness drills.

"Our goal is to make CERT an integral part of the public safety network throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley", states MOVR CERT Public Information Officer Bo Wriston.

"MOVR CERT is here to promote public safety preparedness, enabling us as team members to have the proper training, skills, and knowledge to help our families, friends, and neighbors during emergencies either small or large.

It is about connecting all of us together and to exemplify the fundamental American tenant of being thy brother's keeper. Whether you are 14 or 44 or 74, you can become a valued and important member of CERT."

Calhoun County CERT Classes will be held Friday, August 24 from 6PM to 10PM, and Saturday, August 25 from 8AM to 6PM at the Brooksville Baptist Church in Big Bend.

Calhoun County residents interested in becoming a member or in learning more about CERT are encouraged to attend. Classes are open to residents from the entire Mid-Ohio Valley. Refreshments will be provided.

For further information, contact MOVR CERT Regional Coordinator Kristine Green at 304-420-1481, or via email at Kristine.L.Green@wv.gov, or Calhoun County Organizer Matt Kirby at 304-354-0270, or via email at MKirby@mhhcc.com

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