Mountain Disaster Preparedness and Idyllwild Fire Protection District are partnering to offer Community Emergency Response Team Training to the mountain communities. The 20-hour basic CERT course will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, and from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8, and Sunday, Feb. 9.
The classes and most of the exercises will take place at the IFPD Training/Conference Room and Training Yard behind and beside the fire station. The Federal Emergency Management Agency/California Emergency Management Agency-certified course includes training in Basic Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Medical/Triage, Small Fire Suppression, Disaster Psychology, and Light Search and Rescue/Safe Victim Extraction. IFPD Training Officer Capt. Mark Lamont will lead the training sessions with members of IFPD staff and MDP volunteers assisting.
“We stage the final exercise so that participants’ hearts race a bit and their skills are truly tested. For many people, this is their first introduction to disaster response and it’s quite an education. Even for our returnees who decide to take the course as a refresher, they learn new things and get to practice what they previously learned,” said MDP Training Coordinator Nancy Layton.
IFPD Chief Patrick Reitz supports the IFPD staff taking part in this community training, knowing how quickly his professional and volunteer staff could become overwhelmed in a major disaster on the Hill. The MDP and IFPD boards of directors and commissioners also support CERT training and are grateful for the cooperative partnership between the two local organizations.
CERT training is open to the public at no charge for the 20-hour course. A donation of $15 is asked for any student who wishes to keep their printed manual. CDs of the course manual will be available at no additional cost. Refreshments will be served.
In addition to calling for students to sign up for the course, Layton asks that any previous CERT grads who’d like to volunteer as final exercise “victims” call or email her to sign up for that participation on Sunday afternoon.
For more information on MDP’s educational and training programs, or to sign up as a student or volunteer assistant, contact Nancy Layton at 909-225-5127 or [email protected], or IFPD Administrative Assistant Sherry Edwards at 951-659-2153 or [email protected]