By Mary O’KEEFE
The American Red Cross is coming to town on Saturday to build a partnership with a local emergency response group.
“CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) is the new Red Cross liaison,” said Paul Dutton, captain of CERT in La Crescenta. Dutton is also the newly appointed Red Cross ambassador for the area.
CERT and the Red Cross are conducting a class on sheltering operations on Saturday morning at Rosemont Middle School.
During the Station Fire, the Red Cross established a shelter for evacuated community members in the Crescenta Valley High School cafeteria. At the time, Dutton said CERT members were working with local fire and law enforcement and was not part of the shelter’s set up. The new collaboration will be a way to make certain everyone is working together if and when the next disaster occurs.
CERT is an active organization that holds several seminars and training sessions throughout the year. They were recently contacted by Mark Yeager, chaplain at the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA, about teaching a CERT class for local clergy. Yeagar, who had taken the class before, met with the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Clergy Council last Saturday for training at the Y.
Reaching out to clergy is Dutton’s plan to involve several sections of the community to work together as a cohesive unit in case of emergency.
“We have been integrated with Southern California Edison, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and L.A. County Fire,” Dutton said.
Dutton and CERT are also working with Dennis Erdman of Crescenta Valley Water District to see how they can help each other.
“We only had the Gas Company and Red Cross [left to contact],” he said. “And now we are working with Red Cross.”
Dutton invites everyone who is interested in working with CERT and/or the Red Cross to come to the class at Rosemont Middle School, 4725 Rosemont Ave. The class is from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.