Maui News

29 students complete CERT basic training, become first to graduate since the pandemic

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Caption: (L-R) William Chun, Peter Jubell, Patrick Bigoss, Steven Smith, Gaye Gabuat perform cribbing lifting technique observed by a Maui Fire Department trainer. PC: County of Maui

Twenty-nine students have completed the Community Emergency Response Team Basic Course and are qualified to become members of the Maui County CERT team, the Maui Emergency Management Agency announced.

This is the first CERT class to graduate since the start of the COVID pandemic in 2020.

“Mahalo to these individuals for undergoing CERT training and being ready to assist during natural disasters,” said Mayor Michael Victorino. “We are blessed to live in a place where the community steps up to assist during disasters. CERT training provides our community volunteers with the necessary skills and knowledge to become disaster responders.”

Caption: Mitsue Okamura-Eldredge performs fire extinguisher exercise backed up by Amos Eldredge and observed by Maui Fire Department trainers. PC: County of Maui.

CERT is a national program under the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and is administered locally through MEMA. Members of CERT are community volunteers who are trained to respond to disasters in areas where they live or work.

Maui Fire Department firefighters under CERT lead instructor Chris Stankis, provided the training. It included light search-and-rescue, damage assessment, disaster medical operations, triage and other skills. In this class, students completed over 30 hours of training, which included online and in-person classes.

The CERT training program culminated with an in-person field exercise. Students were evaluated on their disaster response skills during challenging and realistic emergency scenarios.

Caption: Patrick Bigoss applies arm sling to Steven Smith. PC: County of Maui.

Those passing the Basic Course were presented with certificates of completion and a “go bag” containing various basic disaster response equipment. Program funding was made possible through the County of Maui and a grant from the US Department of Homeland Security.

“I am very pleased that we are able to resume the CERT training and to grow our teams, especially in our remote areas,” said Herman Andaya, MEMA administrator. “In a natural disaster, it may be difficult to send help to our communities and so CERT teams already embedded in those areas are able to provide immediate assistance.”

Maui Fire Department Chief Bradford Ventura said, “First responders respond to many emergencies during a natural disaster, and the CERT teams are trained to provide disaster recovery assistance in communities while our professional responders are able to focus on more complex and critical tasks.”

Graduation Photo of a recent CERT Class. PC: County of Maui

Graduates of the CERT Basic Course were: Curtis Abafo-Briones, Cherish Adamson, Patrick Bigoss, William Chun, Amos Eldredge, Rhonda Fosbinder, Rose Gabriel, Gaye Gabuat, Raymond Glauser, Troy Gustafson, Aubrey Huey, David Jackson, Barbara Jones, Peter Jubell, Rocky Keohuhu-Bolor, Jennifer Mather, Keith Nakata, Mitsue Okamura Eldredge, Nancy Ooki, Paul Pyzyna, Chester Rodriguez, Richard Sasso, Jr., Sara Shedd, Steven Smith, Carrie Spranger, Robert Sternthall, Darryl Takeda and Alison Wolford.

MEMA continues to seek volunteers to be a part of CERT. Individuals interested in joining CERT who wish to receive more information regarding this organization may contact MEMA at 808-270-7285 or send an email to [email protected].

For more information on how to become a member of CERT, visit or send an email to [email protected].


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