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Lehigh residents urged to take CERT training

June 28, 2011
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help.

CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

About Lehigh Acres CERT:

Local government prepares for everyday emergencies. However, during a disaster, the number and scope of incidents can overwhelm conventional emergency services. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is an all-risk, all-hazard training. This valuable course is designed to help you protect yourself, your family, your neighbors and your neighborhood in an emergency situation.

Lehigh Acres CERT has four levels of CERT Training that members can obtain. It is up to each member to keep proficient and increase his or her training skills.

The Lehigh Acres CERT program covers 143 square miles of Lehigh Acres and is always looking for new members and businesses to become part of the Lehigh Acres CERT Program.

The Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District CERT can be contacted at 239 303-5300.

The Lehigh Acres CERT Team meets monthly at Fire Station 104, located at 3102 16th Street SW and Sunshine Blvd, Lehigh Acres, at 6 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month.

CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens may initially be on their own and their actions can make a difference. While people will respond to others in need without the training, one goal of the CERT program is to help them do so effectively and efficiently without placing themselves in unnecessary danger. In the CERT training, citizens learn to:

• Manage utilities and put out small fires,

• Treat the three medical killers by opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating for shock,

• Provide basic medical aid,

• Search for and rescue victims safely,

• Organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective, and

• Collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.

Why do the CERT training?

Well, it's like paying for car insurance. You might never need either; you would hope not to. But if the occasion arises, having the CERT training, just like having car insurance, means you're as ready as you can be to help yourself, your family and your neighborhood.

How do I join?

CERT members receive 17½ hours (one day a week for seven weeks) of initial training. The seven-week course is followed by full-day biannual refresher drills, and an opportunity to assist the Lehigh Acres Fire Department and/or Lee County emergency management at local incidents.

CERT is provided free of charge in Lehigh Acres and Lee County to anyone 18 years of age or older.

Classes are taught mornings, afternoons and evenings continually throughout the year in locations all over Lee County and Lehigh Acres.

The current schedule is always available on the Internet at'>'>'> You can search to find a class in your area or fire district or classes that begin on a certain weekday. To register for a class, call the contact person to verify the date, time and location of the class. If the contact says you can't attend for any reason, send an email to Lehigh Acres CERT Program Manager immediately. If you miss a class, you can go to any other location to make it up. When you arrive at the make-up session, inform the instructor that you are making up a class.

If you don't see a class near you, call the Lehigh Acres CERT Unit at 239 303-5300 or send an email and give them your name, phone number, zip code and community name. When a class is scheduled in your area, they will contact you.

You can also organize a class for your neighborhood, business or community group. You need a minimum of 20 people to be trained and a location to hold the training. Call the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue CERT Unit at 239 303-5300 to schedule your class.

Linda Carter is a member of the Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District and CERT program manager and trainer. For more information about the program, you can call Carter at 239-826-8696 or email her at:'>'>'>

Article Photos

Linda Carter



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