Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training

December 29, 2006
Santa Paula News

The City of Santa Paula announced that Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training will begin on January 4th.

The City of Santa Paula announced that Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training will begin on January 4th. In 2006 11 classes were conducted in Santa Paula and more than 300 people attended. The CERT courses are offered free of charge.Disasters can severely restrict and overwhelm emergency response resources, communications, transportation and utilities and can leave individuals and entire neighborhoods cut off from outside emergency support. “We are offering Community Emergency Response Team courses,” Captain Lazenby said, “to train people to take care of themselves and then to help others in their neighborhoods for the first three days following a disaster. This is when debris-clogged or damaged roads, disrupted communications, or high volume of calls may prevent access by traditional emergency response personnel. The purpose of CERT training is to provide citizens with the basic skills required to handle virtually all of their own needs and then to be able to respond to their communities’ needs in the aftermath of a disaster.”The CERT course consists of 18 to 20 hours of training, and will be conducted at the Santa Paula Community Center in the Cultural Arts Building. The classes are Thursday evenings from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm, January 4 through February 15, 2007. It is sponsored by the City of Santa Paula and the Department of Homeland Security.The course agenda includes disaster preparedness, fire safety and suppression, disaster medical operations, triage, assessment and treatment of life threatening injuries, light search and rescue operations, disaster psychology and terrorism overview and team organization. “The Course is as much hands on as it is classroom,” Lazenby stated, “so the participants are kept active and interested. The course is geared for all ages, above 18, and for people of all physical abilities; there is a role for anyone that wants to help”. There are no residency requirements, although priority is given to people who live or work in Santa Paula.
“Another important function of the CERT team during a disaster,” Lazenby said, “will be managing and directing the untrained volunteers who arrive at a disaster scene and want to be of assistance. During the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, and after Hurricane Katrina, hundreds of thousands of volunteers appeared at disaster sites, police and fire departments, hospitals and Red Cross offices. While their help was needed, the trained emergency responders were needed to do the rescue work rather than to train those who wanted to help. The CERT course trains volunteers ahead of time. FEMA reports that “up to 80% of all victims involved in a major disaster are cared for by friends, family, and neighbors,” Lazenby said. “Our goal is to establish CERT teams in all of Santa Paula’s neighborhoods.”Men and women 18 years or older who are interested in becoming a Community Emergency Response Team member should call and leave a message for Captain Steve Lazenby at 805-933-4297 or contact him via email at

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