Volunteers needed for CERT Training

RENO, Nev (KOLO) You may wonder what you would do if you found yourself in a mudslide like the one in Santa Barbara County. There is local training available called CERT or Community Emergency Response Team. There are 267 members in Washoe County alone, and organizers are looking or more members.

CERT Training. Photo by Terri Russell/KOLO.

Most of us have seen the pictures coming out of Santa Barbara County. Mudslides destroying homes and property, shutting down freeways, and displacing residents. There have been plenty of rescue teams on scene.

But what you may not know is that there are support teams behind these rescue crews, helping residents in unique ways. They are part of a group called Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT.

“The emergency services that you have within any community are limited. They are limited by budget; they are limited by manpower. They are also limited by the amount of space they have to cover. Well, the only way you can truly protect the community is to have an organization like CERT that can offset those needs,” says Michael Perry, Citizens Corps Program Manager with Washoe County Sheriff’s Office.

CERT members go through several hours of training over a course of weeks.

There is a classroom, but also practical exercises, like how to triage a medical situation, first aid, and helping people under extreme conditions. Once they are trained, they help out when requested. They can be victims in an exercise involving first responders. They can help with traffic, or even evacuate residents in an emergency.

The bottom line to training: you can use it to save yourself and your family and simply stop there. You can use it to help your neighbors when an emergency occurs, or you could contribute to the entire county when needed.

“Just about everything. Even the stuff you think makes you feel good. You do. It's a good feeling when you go home at night. You are beat, you are tired, because it is tough. But it is worth it,” says Craig Valente, a CERT member.

Washoe County is offering training. If you would like more information, click here.