CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training to start October 8th
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: September 27, 2013
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula Times
Everyone has heard of CERT and starting October 8th they will have the chance to become a member of the Community Emergency Response Team, a system developed from the need for a well-trained civilian community emergency work force.
Under the direction of Santa Paula Fire Captain Steve Lazenby, the city’s Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, the area CERT program was a leader and likely remains the largest in the county, reflecting the community’s innate concern for others.
When it comes to a disaster such as an earthquake, Lazenby said, “It’s not if it will hit, but when.... and no matter where, there will not be enough professional emergency responders to help you.”
Lazenby said, “These CERT teams will assist neighborhoods and communities by helping themselves, families and neighbors during emergencies or during disaster situations.”
The training program provides for “citizen self-sufficiency through the development of multifunctional response teams, who can act as the community’s emergency service during major disasters.
“Through this unique program,” Lazenby said, “people from neighborhoods, businesses, and community groups, become CERT trained to perform as individuals, leaders and by directing untrained volunteers in the initial phase of an emergency.”
CERT members receive 18- 20 hours of initial training and are given additional training opportunities with continuing education programs, including full-day refresher field days.
“CERT is vital to each one of us, to our families and to our community.... and people really say they enjoy the classes,” said Lazenby.
The far-ranging program starts with an introduction class that focuses on earthquake awareness, including personal and family preparation and nonstructural hazard mitigation
Class 2, “Is disaster fire suppression techniques,” that Lazenby said covers fire chemistry, fire extinguisher use, utility control, ventilation, creative firefighting techniques and hazardous materials.
“People are often surprised at how easy it is handle a fire extinguisher, but you must be taught how,” he noted.
Class 3 will cover recognizing and treating life-threatening emergencies, triage and treatment area management.
Class 4 will get more into disaster medical operations and multi-casualty incidents, head-to-toe evaluation of those injured, recognizing and treating non-life-threatening emergencies and disaster psychology, the latter subject Lazenby said people seem to be the most interested in.
Class 5 will address light search and rescue operations, evacuations, search techniques and rescue methods.
Class 6 is when CERT trainees get into team organization and management, developing a response team and incident command system as well as sizing up the situation.
Class 7 is the CERT training course review and a disaster simulation followed by a critique.
“Then we have our graduation,” said Lazenby, “and celebrate the fact that you are now ready to take care of yourself, your family and if need be others in time of disaster and emergency.
“Prepare,” he added, “It will happen!”
For more information or to register, call 805-525-4478 ex 241 or email