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Long Beach Fire Dept. Expands City’s CERT Program

The expanded Community Service Response Team will include new neighborhood teams and refresher courses for CERT volunteers.

Long Beach’s Community Service Response Team (CERT) is being expanded in an effort to make the program more effective and prepare more people for potential disasters.

CERT is organized and is being expanded by the Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD) to create neighborhood teams and add refresher courses for those who are already CERT volunteers.

"In case of a major disaster, our residents will be need to be self-reliant while our first responders will be dealing with high priority emergencies,” Mayor Bob Foster said in recent press release from the city of Long Beach. “Expanding our already successful CERT program will enable teams of trained people to augment public safety officials, and to start providing immediate services in their own neighborhoods."

This is what the LBFD plans to do with the new neighborhood teams. In the event of an emergency, these neighborhood CERT teams would help their neighborhoods while they wait for emergency responders, which may take several days, according to the press release. 

Training to be a CERT volunteer includes a six-week and 22-hour course. About 5,000 people have finished this training in Long Beach and are now being urged by the LBFD to take a two-hour refresher course to help them hands-on with necessary skills.

Some of the skills taught in the six-week CERT training courses are structural and non-structural hazards, fire chemistry, fire suppression safety,  public health consideration, treating life-threatening conditions, conducting search and rescue operations, and a disaster simulation, which is done in the last week of the course, according to the CERT website.

The CERT website states that their mission is to “Do the greatest good for the greatest number of people.”

John B. Greet December 30, 2012 at 03:04 PM
The CERT program is an excellent way to get involved in Long Beach's various disaster preparedness and recovery efforts. When the next large earthquake severely damages Long Beach (and it is "when", not "if") full time emergency personnel such as police, fire, and medical professionals are going to be *completely overwhelmed* for the first 3-7 days. Because of this, organized and properly-trained residents are going to be the most effective means of recovery in most neighborhoods throughout the city. CERT is a great way to learn basic disaster recovery skills and how to organize volunteers for the greatest benefit.

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