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CERT Graduates its 1,000 Student

Mountain View's Community Emergency Response Team class continues to increase the number of first responders that could be available in case of a disaster.

Last Saturday's field day for the Community Emergency Response Team was special for more reasons than usual.

The local residents gathered at Fire Station No. 4 to practice the skills they learned throughout the four-week course—like extinguishing a fire, disaster medical aid, and search and rescue—and to receive their certificates.

But someone among this, the 30th group to complete CERT, was the 1,000 graduate of the program, an accomplishment that acknowledges the "significant investment by this community in emergency response," said Fire Chief Brad Wardle who dropped by to congratulate the class and the Emergency Coordinator Lynn Brown.

"CERT is there for the community when the fire department is not coming, you've now seen why," he said. "I will submit that is true, but that you will become an extension of what we do. That's important for us. We will count on you."

The CERT course teaches that in a disaster, the MVFD may not be able to get to everyone for various reasons—assisting with a major fire or possible down trees—so the CERT teams will be the first to help their community. There are currently 16 CERT teams organized around the city, that could help 23 percent of the population. (See .pdf above for contacts.)

"I learned a lot," said Laura Daener. "I was expecting to do CPR and stuff like that but in a disaster it's about helping the whole community."

"It's not just one person; It's not about heroics," she said.

Daener and her husband, David Anderson, had never taken first aid classes felt the medical operations class of the CERT program was the most useful as was learning to put out a fire safely.

"Flames are hot and they blows towards you!" Laura said.

As employees, they already had small earthquake kits with the "bare minimums." But after CERT they will both get better prepared.

"We will definitely get more things," Daener said. "We'll have an emergency plan, which we'll tell my parents. We have a pet and we'll stock up on pet food too."

CERT classes take place several times a year on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the Fire Administration Building at 1000 Villa St. The next class starts on Sept. 13. Registration takes place online.

Claudia Cruz June 20, 2012 at 07:47 PM
I'm proud to be a CERT grad! I'm want to be prepared and not panic during a disaster!
Norah Sliger June 21, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Wow! Good job! I am a team leader for CERT in Washoe County (Reno Sparks), NV. - congratulations all! We have responded to the Reno Air Race Crash last Sept, the Caughlin Ranch fire and the Washoe Drive fire this year - been very busy and the training came in very handy. One thing - take all of your ICS classes so you understand the command structure - it is very important to know! HAVE FUN!
Claudia Cruz June 22, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Thanks for the comment Norah and for getting CERTified! (hee,hee!). We've been fortunate not to have had a disaster, but this is California. Wildfire are common in the hills (which aren't too far from Mountain View) and of course there could be an earthquake. Always better to be prepared than sorry!

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