JERSEY CITY – Last fall, during Hurricane Sandy, good Samaritans throughout Jersey City helped their neighbors cope with flooding, blackouts, displacement, the lack of food, water, and medical supplies, and other crises brought on by the storm.
While these efforts were noble and gallant, at least some of this volunteer work could have been performed by trained, organized, coordinated Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT). While several Jersey City residents have completed CERT training, according to W. Greg Kierce, director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEM), Hurricane Sandy demonstrated Jersey City has a need for more trained volunteers.
Thus, Jersey City OEM is currently accepting applications from residents who may be interested in receiving CERT training this year.
The training consists of 20 hours of classroom instruction and practical exercises, according to a CERT brochure published by the Jersey City OEM. The course, which is taught by experienced professional first responders, covers disaster preparedness, fire suppression, basic first aid and triage, light search and rescue, terrorism, and the impact major disasters have on mental health.
In cities elsewhere, CERT volunteers have been used to distribute supplies, help set up temporary shelters, and search for lost children, among other disaster needs.
The training is offered free of charge and is available to individuals and community groups (i.e., block associations, churches, civic organizations, etc.). All training and study materials are also offered free of charge for the trainings, which are conducted at the OEM office at 715 Summit Ave. Applicants must be at least 18 years old.
Jersey City needs residents in every ward who are trained to help in the event of a crisis or disaster.
For more information, or to obtain an application, call (201) 547-5686 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. – E. Assata Wright