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Volunteers pick up disaster preparedness skills - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Volunteers pick up disaster preparedness skills

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COLCHESTER, Vt. - Residents throughout the state are training for disasters. The program was offered Sunday at the Volunteer Fire Department in Colchester.  

They're known as the Community Emergency Response Team. It's a program that takes on the task of providing support to emergency responders by training residents throughout the state.

Whether it's a natural disaster like Tropical Storm Irene, or a mass casualty situation like 9-11, the training is designed to give your average citizen first responder skills.  "Some of the things I learned in Boy Scouts at age 14 don't apply anymore so there's new ways of doing things," said Larry Day, a student at Sunday's training.

CERT is all about giving residents the tools they need to help out in case of emergencies. This reporter made it here just in time to help them. It's called the blanket role and is used to move victims. "It teaches people how to be a little more self-sufficient, should something happen," said CERT student Jeff Robbins.

"They definitely feel a lot more confident having gone through a course like this," said CERT Training Officer Tim Bourgeois.

The 20-hour course teaches everything from first aid, to how to remove a person from debris.  The instructors update their credential on a yearly basis.  

"CERT fits right into that niche of providing a public service and being helpful to people," Day said.

The program is funded by FEMA and is one of many geared toward training residents with little to no disaster relief training. "If their forte is more with the medical service, there's a medical reserve core -- they can volunteer on the animal side," Bourgeois said.

No matter what area of interest residents have within the program, getting the training and being ready for anything is what counts most.


 


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