continued “It’s a great way to provide residents with training, not only in public safety planning but in their day-to-day lives. It’s all about neighbors helping neighbors and makes everybody more prepared for emergencies,” said Barrett.
Ronald Volungus, 70, has been on Clifton Park’s CERT since it began and said being on the team “makes you more self-reliant”.
“Whether there is an emergency at home or on the road, somebody should be able to pass on the proper information (to first responders). Just being able to provide basic first aid, you’re able to help,” he said.
Working with local police, firefighters and other organizations are essential to CERT’s mission.
“In our mind, emergency preparedness and public safety are inextricably tied. We’re partners of the same guild, if you will,” said McHugh.
“This past January a large group joined the Town Of Malta CERT …and attended an American Red Cross sheltering operations class. We will work with other towns any time. Our CECRT volunteers operate the town emergency shelters when activated and have done that at least three times in the last seven years,” said McHugh.
“We need to partner with other agencies simply because we can’t do it all and neither can other agencies,” said Executive Director for the American Red Cross’ Adirondack Saratoga Chapter Gary Ferris.
Clifton Park CERT was activated during last year’s Hurricane Irene. Members answered phones at Town Hall at the emergency operations center informing residents of what roads were closed and where emergency shelters were. The team was also instrumental in setting up the shelters.
CERT handles basics like providing shelter, food, water and communication so the active responders like fire and police personnel can do their jobs. They can also provide a perimeter or barrier between an incident like a multi-building fire and “the curious” to avoid further confusion of a situation.