By Robin GOLDSWORTHY
Not if, but when.
That’s the response that CERT – Community Emergency Response Team – members give when asked what one should do if an emergency strikes.
CERT trainer Paul Dutton ticks off natural disasters that have struck the foothills area – from fires and floods to earthquakes – and urges local residents to take the time to be trained in emergency response.
Dutton will be leading a week-long class Oct. 20 through Oct. 27 that will educate those who may be unclear on how to handle an emergency, but he also encourages those who may have taken a class in the past to revisit CERT training.
“People forget their training,” Dutton said as to why CERT members should sign up for the October class if they haven’t taken a refresher course in more than three years.
“When we wear the CERT shirt, people are looking to us for guidance during a disaster,” Dutton said. “We don’t want our own people to get hurt and that can happen if they’re not up to date on the latest CERT techniques.”
The class is free and takes place locally.
The CERT program is an all-risk, all-hazard training. This course is designed to help individuals protects themselves, then their family, then neighbors and the neighborhood in an emergency situation.
Much of the do-it-yourself attitude that CERT hopes to teach citizens stems from the likelihood that they will be on their own after a major disaster, like the tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011.
“Many people in Japan were alone three to five days before they received help from emergency services. Some did not get help for seven to 14 days,” said Dutton.
Following an emergency, Dutton is confident that, with the proper training, panic can be avoided when a community has been prepared.
“When we put on the green CERT shirt, people look to us for leadership,” said Dutton, “and we want to make sure that our CERT volunteers have the most recent training to ensure their own safety and that of the public.”
To register for the October class, call Paul or Lisa Dutton at (818) 249-8378.