Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NEWS ADVISORY: Community Emergency Response Team Takes Training on the Road

MC CERT team with Montouis Haiti 'Lifesavers' June 2010.
CERT Program Manager Greg St. James in middle with Hawaiian shirt.
Montgomery County Fire Chief Richard Bowers announced the results of the County’s Community Emergency Response Team’s (CERT) training mission to Montrouis, Haiti. A team of three CERT volunteers, led by Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service CERT Program Manager Greg St. James, traveled to Haiti in June 2010 to conduct training in community-based disaster preparedness and response. Using modified lessons based on FEMA’s CERT curriculum, a train-the-trainer model was developed to meet the needs of Haiti’s population. The mission was funded by individual donations and a grant from the Rockville Rotary Club.

The Montgomery County trainers instructed a 'sister' team of 25 Haitian residents in the seaside town of Montrouis in first aid, basic search and rescue strategies and swift water rescue techniques using 'low tech' or minimal equipment. Since June, the Montrouis team (known as “Sove La Vie” or Lifesavers) has responded to severe flooding in July and the most recent Hurricane. The CERT “Lifesavers” team safely evacuated over 350 people from rising water, including several who had suffered serious injuries requiring additional medical treatment.

CERT Medic David Smith instructs Haitian team in June 2010

"CERT plays an important role in the recovery of communities in times of crisis and we are fortunate to be able to take our training on the road and help communities in Haiti to be safer and stronger in the future,” said Chief Bowers. “This training is an example of the value of community-based disaster readiness and response by ordinary citizens, both in Haiti and here in Montgomery County." said Chief Bowers. "The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service has made a multi-year commitment to training residents and enhancing neighborhood readiness with CERT teams. This is an important part of our public safety mission and the success in Haiti demonstrates its value. I offer my sincere congratulations to the Montrouis Lifesavers for a job well done!"

The Montgomery County CERT program is comprised of over 250 volunteers and offers frequent training classes in disaster readiness, CPR, fire safety and first aid free of charge to county residents. The next CERT class is set for January 2011. To learn more visit, or contact Greg St. James at 240-777-2407.

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