Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Last Updated: Thursday, June 29, 2017

Are you, your family prepared for a disaster?

Emergency response training coming to Belvoir in August

By Jonathan Kiell
CERT Instructor

Do you have a family plan? Do you have emergency supplies for your family and pets if the power is out and the roads are closed for a few, or more, days? What if you have to evacuate? What if someone gets hurt and rescue crews cannot get to you right away? These are all important questions and there are good answers. 

Fairfax County and Belvoir participate in a national program that trains and prepares citizens for all kinds of disaster for free. Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT training is presented by certified instructors generally in eight, 3.5-hour sessions. Training is informative; practical; hands on; and challenging. Participants must be at least 16 years old.

CERT training includes:
*             What can be done to prevent emergencies in the home and office; safety practices
*             What can be done to prepare for a disaster and reduce its impact when it happens
*             What can be done during a disaster to protect people
*             Things you can do after a disaster to help your family, neighborhood and community recover if professional responders are delayed and cannot get to you right away

Classes include:
*             Personal and Family Preparedness
*             Disaster Preparedness 
*             Basic Fire Suppression
*             Medical Aid and Operations
*             CERT Team Operations
*             Light Search and Rescue
*             Disaster Psychology
*             Terrorism
*             Hazardous Materials

Classes are regularly scheduled at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy, and at local venues, including fire stations; community centers; houses of worship, etc., around the county,including on Fort Belvoir.
CERT Class 128 will be offered on Belvoir beginning Aug. 17.

Registration is a two-step process. Interested people must first create an account in the Fairfax County Volunteer Management System, of which CERT is a part, at http://volunteer.fairfaxcounty.gov, and select “Register to Volunteer Now."

Volunteer registration requests a lot of information, since it is used by many county volunteer programs. However, you only need to complete the required fields, marked with an asterisk, to take the CERT training. The system can be slow and may work better on computers rather than phones.

Once you have created an account, log into your account, with your ID and password, and select the search function on the left hand menu. Enter CERT in the search field, which should take people to a list of CERT and related classes. Scroll down to find CERT 128 (at Fort Belvoir) and select the apply button. People then get an auto response and, then, complete details usually within 48 hours.
If CERT 128 is not convenient, there will be several additional classes scheduled in the fall.

For more information and to sign up for classes, go to http://www.fairfaxcountycert.com/upcoming-classes.html and follow the prompts. Those interested in registering have to create an account in the Fairfax County Volunteer Management System. Questions can be directed to the Fairfax County CERT Liaison, fire.cert@fairfaxcounty.gov.

For more information, contact Jonathan Kiell, TEAMS@fairfaxcountycert.org.

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