Twenty years ago, the City of Santa Clarita partnered with the Los Angeles County Fire Department to begin offering residents Community Emergency Response Training (CERT). This nationally certified course is designed to help families, neighborhoods, schools and businesses understand basic emergency/disaster response skills through training and preplanning. Trainees learn about fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and first aid. To date, the CERT program has successfully trained over 2,800 residents in the Santa Clarita community!
Emergency response is a valuable skill to have when one lives in California – a state that is no stranger to natural disasters such as storms, fires, floods, mudflows and earthquakes. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agent (FEMA), since 1954, the state of California has had 255 disaster declarations.
Last July, Santa Clarita made national headlines with the unfortunate Sand Fire that blazed through more than 41,000 acres, taking with it homes and open space in Santa Clarita.
Although we do not have the power to control these events, we can plan and prepare to minimize the damage when they do occur. As a CERT trainee, you can learn how to prepare for emergencies and how to respond to them. Certified instructors from the L.A. County Fire Department and City will advise on what supplies you should have in your house, how much food and water you should have packed and most importantly, how to protect your family during all types of emergencies. Emergencies in Southern California can range from fire, severe weather, earthquakes, power outages, terrorism, hurricanes and more.
By being CERT-ified, you also contribute to your community. When emergencies happen, CERT members can give critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, and spontaneously organize volunteers at a disaster site. CERT members can also help with non-emergency projects that help improve the safety of the community.
I’d like to encourage you to consider joining the ranks of 2,800 CERT members who have already completed the CERT course and are ready to help their community in the event of a disaster or emergency.
The spring CERT session begins Thursday, March 30, and runs through Thursday, May 11, 20. The course fee is $30. Classes are held on seven consecutive Thursday evenings at the Centre, located at 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway. You must be at least 18 years of age to register. Registration is now open.
If you are interested in registering for the CERT program, please visit santa-clarita.com/emergency.
Bob Kellar is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.