Featured photo courtesy of City of Clovis
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is offering an emergency readiness course in Clovis, beginning next Tuesday, Feb. 17. CERT’s goal is to work with every Clovis resident to make sure that in the event of a disaster, no one becomes a victim. The seven-week course is sponsored by the Clovis Fire Department, and is designed to teach volunteers how to prepare for an emergency on any scale.
“The purpose of CERT is to pick up where city resources leave off. In the event of an emergency, outlying areas are going to need assistance, but most of the resources will be allocated to a larger city. That’s why we are here,” said Andy Isolano, the newly installed Program Manager of CERT.
The Clovis CERT program is directed by Isolano, who is also the Fire Prevention Officer for the city of Clovis, and is run by an active member list of 60 volunteers. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) implemented CERT in 1993, with the Clovis division in operation for about 13 years. The program also encompasses a Teen CERT chapter, which is operated out of CART High School. The basic CERT training class is required of all individuals before they can volunteer.
“The teen program is great not only because the students are volunteering their time to help others, but it also provides them with a unique type of career guidance,” said Isolano.
The nine-module course covers skills such as: fire safety and suppression, light search and rescue, incident command system, terrorism and more. After completing the training, volunteers are then given a chance to practice their skills in a disaster drill. The free course is offered at the Clovis Fire Department on Fifth Street, and participants will receive a backpack with a full array of survival gear upon completion.
Isolano also has big plans for expanding the services that CERT offers, including more senior citizen outreach and fire protection. CERT has previously worked with mobile home residents in ensuring that 892 homes had operational smoke detectors and long-lasting batteries, thanks to a grant that the Clovis Fire Department received.
But, according to Isolano, what makes him the most satisfied is seeing everyday citizens help themselves and others.
“If we can train everyone in Clovis and empower them with skills to be leaders in their neighborhood, then they are doing their city a service – especially in the event of a disaster,” he said.
For more information, contact the Clovis Fire Department at 559-324-2217 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By A.T. Gilbert