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Town Planning CERT Training For Volunteers

The town is seeking to expand the ranks of its certified emergency response team (CERT) with the goal of having sufficient volunteers available to donate their services, if needed, in times of public emergency.

Maureen Will, a town deputy director of emergency management, said there currently are 18 active members of the town’s CERT unit. The town organized the unit last year.

To expand the number of CERT members, the town plans to conduct another CERT training program in late October/early November, Ms Will said.

CERT members typically assist emergency management staffers during storms and other emergencies, Ms Will said. During a major storm last year, CERT members opened and ran the town’s emergency shelter and assisted at the town Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at Fairfield Hills, she said.

Training for CERT membership includes three successive nights of classroom instruction, plus a practical training session.

Training includes light search/rescue techniques, first aid/CPR, and operating a public shelter in an emergency. CERT members aid police, fire and ambulance staffers, as needed, Ms Will said.

CERT members receive a backpack that includes a safety vest, flares, first aid supplies, a tool used to turn off natural gas supplies, a hard hat, a flashlight, and a CERT identification card.

“This a is a chance to assist your community during emergency incidents with sheltering, food distribution, phone banks, or ‘just being there’ for our neighbors,” Ms Will said.

The town is seeking to enlist as many CERT members as possible, Ms Will said. There are no fees required to participate. CERT program costs are covered by a state grant.

Ms Will estimated that CERT members would be activated twice per year to assist in public emergencies. The minimum age for participation is 18. There is no maximum age limit. Senior citizens are encouraged to become CERT members. CERT members work in teams.

Applications to become a CERT member are available at Newtown Emergency Communications Center at 3 Main Street. Applications also are available at the fire marshal’s office at Newtown Municipal Center at 3 Primrose Street.

For additional information, contact Ms Will at 203-270-4296 or maureen.will@newtown-ct.gov.

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