Archive for Thursday, October 14, 2004

Program to prepare residents for emergencies

October 14, 2004

A series of classes that will soon be offered in Baldwin could come in handy if the community were to ever experience a disaster or emergency.

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) course, which will begin in November, will help train individuals to work as a team and respond in the course of an emergency. City Council Member Nancy Brown said these trained individuals would help with a disaster until professional emergency first responders could arrive.

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CERT will be a county-wide program, and she said it's important for Baldwin to have its own trained people.

"It's so important in Baldwin especially since we're in the southern part of the county," said Brown, the city's safety committee chairperson. "If there were a major emergency here, we could probably be on our own for up to two hours before all the agencies could respond. That two hours could be a matter of life and death.

"So with this training, if it ever comes down to when we're on our own, we've got people who know what they're doing," she said.

The nine CERT classes, which are funded through a Federal Homeland Security grant, will feature a series of instructors who will train participants in disaster preparedness, fire safety, light search and rescue and disaster medical operations.

Brown said participants will receive an equipment bag complete with a flashlight, NOAA weather radio, goggles, training manual, reflective vest and other safety items.

She said the program will also feature take-home exams and several exercises to train CERT participants. Periodic refresher courses will also be offered once individuals have completed the CERT training.

Brown said the goal is to eventually have enough people complete the course to enable Baldwin to have at least one trained person every two to three blocks.

"I'm hoping people from the school district, major employers, staffs where people congregate and people throughout the neighborhoods will participate," she said.

The first course will begin Nov. 9 and run nearly every Tuesday and Thursday through Dec. 9. The classes, which will meet at the Baldwin City Fire Department, run from 7 to 10 p.m.

Participants must attend all of the classes, but if one is missed, it can be made up by taking a class from Lawrence or Eudora.

Brown said there is no cost to participate, but all individuals must be at least 18 years old.

She said she hopes to have 20 to 25 people per session. As long as there is interest, she said, the city will continue to offer the nine-class sessions.

To register for the CERT training, visit www.douglas-county.com and fill out the form. Forms may also be picked up at the three Baldwin banks and the Baldwin City Hall.

For more information, contact Brown at 594-7592 or Bill Brubaker at (785) 832-5101.

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