Tsunami Sparks Community Interest in Emergency Response Team
By Wendy Osher
The recent tsunami on Maui has many asking how they can help or volunteer in future disasters. One option is the Community Emergency Response Team or CERT. Training and certification for the program is free of charge for residents of Maui, and is federally funded by a Homeland Security Grant.
Volunteers go through 30 hours of training, receive personal protective equipment upon graduation, and are placed on a team in the community where they live.
The CERT program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.
The Civil Defense agency on Maui is seeking students to fill monthly classes for the county’s community Emergency Response Team (CERT). The first session is already underway in Kahului. The next session runs from May 16-28, 2011 in Pukalani.
The complete schedule of classes currently available is listed below. Class size is limited to 25 people and is available on a first-come-first-serve basis. To register, call the Maui County Civil Defense Agency at 270-7285.
* May 16-28 in Pukalani at the Jesus is Alive Church on Mon. 5/16, Thurs. 5/19, Sat. 5/21, Mon. 5/23, Thurs. 5/26, and Sat. 5/28.
* July 26 – August 6 in Kihei at the Lokelani Intermediate School on Tues. 7/26, Thurs. 7/28, Sat. 7/30, Tues. 8/2, Thurs. 8/4, and Sat. 8/6.
* September 6-17 in Lahaina at the Lahaina Civic Center on Tues. 9/6, Thurs. 9/8, Sat. 9/10, Tues. 9/13, Thurs. 9/15, and Sat. 9/17.
* October 11-22 in Kahului at the Kings Cathedral on Tues. 10/11, Thurs. 10/13, Sat. 10/15, Tues. 10/18, Thurs. 10/20, and Sat. 10/22.
*** All weekday classes run from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday classes run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The location of the final class for each session is TBD.
The volunteer must take all the training to graduate but can make up missed classes. In the first three years of the program, classes were filled to capacity. So far, 265 people have graduated from the program.
Training for the CERT classes is conducted by the Maui Fire Department, with fiscal and administrative oversight conducted by the Civil Defense agency.