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JerseyJim

Questions about CERT in New Jersey

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I have received recruiting requests from our local CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) group. It was my amateur radio license that brought me to their attention.

I was wondering if other users have heard about or are members of a CERT.  Is it worthwhile?  I see the training syllabus but am curious what they do day-to-day in New Jersey.  Any shared experience would be helpful, thanks. 

https://www.ready.gov/community-emergency-response-team

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2 minutes ago, JerseyJim said:

I have received recruiting requests from our local CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) group. It was my amateur radio license that brought me to their attention.

I was wondering if other users have heard about or are members of a CERT.  Is it worthwhile?  I see the training syllabus but am curious what they do day-to-day in New Jersey.  Any shared experience would be helpful, thanks. 

https://www.ready.gov/community-emergency-response-team

I was considering joining up. A friend of ours is involved in their area. I think they do stuff once a month unless shtf 

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I just went through the training this past spring and am now an official member in my town (Keyport). We were actually the first to be certified in the state this year. My town is small, thus the training class was small. Just me, my wife, and one other person. I enjoyed it. Kinda a pain in the butt to go once a week for two months or so since I commute to NYC for work every day, but I’m glad we did it. They cover a lot of basic, but important stuff. I also really liked the final training simulation. We had to clear out a building with various “victims” with a variety of injuries or other problems.

If you have any specific questions, just let me know.

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4 minutes ago, voyager9 said:

By in large you may be more interested in joining your local volunteer fire or Ems dept.  From what I’ve seen CERT takes a secondary role to those organizations. 

I was considering that.. but I work to far away and you have call quota’s I understand 

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5 minutes ago, Sniper22 said:

Have you been called out yet on any situations?

 

So far all I have done is some traffic control for some of the (many) events that my town puts on. Street closures, etc. From what I understand they try to keep things fresh with at least one training a month unless there is an event that requires deployment. 

As mentioned, CERT is essentially the last line to be called. EMS and fire are the first to deal with things. As an example however, we've had two large fires within the past year (one structural and one wildfire), and CERT was deployed to help rehab the first responders. I actually prefer being the last to be called, as even though I really want to help out in town, I can't commit to something like EMS due to everythign else going on in my life. 

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6 minutes ago, voyager9 said:

By in large you may be more interested in joining your local volunteer fire or Ems dept.

I considered that too, was a volunteer firefighter in a previous life, not sure if I'm up to heading out multiple times during the week or at night anymore. The body ain't what is was back when I was in my 20's....  darn...

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2 minutes ago, JerseyJim said:

Interesting.  I am intrigued by the possible dynamics of "Manage “spontaneous/convergent” volunteers"   That sounds like real work :)

Essentially we were trained to tell them thanks, but no thanks! Let those with training take care of things first. 

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5 minutes ago, JerseyJim said:

Interesting.  I am intrigued by the possible dynamics of "Manage “spontaneous/convergent” volunteers"   That sounds like real work :)

Wait, that could be OK if you can just sit back, drink coffee and bark out commands, right? :)

 

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1 hour ago, Zeke said:

I was considering that.. but I work to far away and you have call quota’s I understand 

Most first responding orgs, Fire/Ems should have training and activity quotas. That makes sense to me. Gotta stay active to keep the skills sharp. 

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1 minute ago, voyager9 said:

Most first responding orgs, Fire/Ems should have training and activity quotas. That makes sense to me. Gotta stay active to keep the skills sharp. 

That puts me out as a helper.. but I can try.

newbs coming in is low I understand. Correct?

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16 minutes ago, Zeke said:

Lol.. jackass

i meant new volunteer numbers are way down.. and Delran is shut down. But you knew that

Well Delran EMS was shut down. DFD is still active. 

And yes, volunteerism is down. And getting folks that will commit the time for the initial/continuous training plus actual calls is very difficult. 

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CERT is pretty cool for yourself and family not just the community. You will learn things that you might not have done before.

For example we all have fire extinguishers but have probably never used one. As part of the CERT training they will start a small fire and teach you how to manager a larger extinguisher to put out a small fire (how to approach the fire, how close to get, etc). The big stuff obviously goes to the fire department.

Clearing a house in the dark looking for survivors is another skill you learn. You don't go into a structure without a partner. You learn how to place a mark on the building to indicate that you are inside and once done how many people have been removed.

They stress prepping and having supplies on hand for your family.

You learn that as a first responder your safety is first so no heroics are to be done. If you get injured they have to expend resources to find and treat you.

You learn basic first aid for a disaster which is much different than regular first aid.

The overall idea is to save as many people in as short a period of time. You can't spend much time an individual if there are hundreds of people that are injured or need help. You learn how to triage large groups of people, finding and setting up areas for treatment outside of the immediate disaster area.

CERT operates under OEM. During a disaster OEM is in charge of everything including police, fire, and ems. You learn the basics of setting up an incident command post and delegating authority to different groups of volunteers. As our police chief said he works under OEM during a disaster.

It is very difficult to maintain your skills as you many not need to use them for years.

We do come out for traffic control and setting up tables to recruit new members at town events.

CERT has been used when a child goes missing. We learned how to do grid searches over a large area outside.

You might be called upon to search for evidence again over a large area.

During power outages you might be called up to maintain a shelter. OEM in each town maintains supplies for that purpose (cots, blankets, water, etc).

At a disaster there will always be volunteers that come forward. CERT trains you how to effectively use the volunteers.

All in all they are very interesting and useful skills to learn and one day they might be called into use. If you have ever thought about prepping this is a great way to get started in an organized way. If you have the time then joining the fire or ems squads is also a great way of helping on a more day to day basis.

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10 hours ago, NJGF said:

CERT is pretty cool for yourself and family not just the community. You will learn things that you might not have done before.

 

All in all they are very interesting and useful skills to learn and one day they might be called into use. If you have ever thought about prepping this is a great way to get started in an organized way. If you have the time then joining the fire or ems squads is also a great way of helping on a more day to day basis.

I like the training syllabus.  It overlaps (first aid, CPR/AED) with my Scoutmaster requirements.  

Does CERT work with ARES and RACES for radio communications?  I have done ARES drills but did not hear from CERT team people. 

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On 7/14/2018 at 5:37 AM, NJGF said:

CERT operates under OEM. During a disaster OEM is in charge of everything including police, fire, and ems. You learn the basics of setting up an incident command post and delegating authority to different groups of volunteers. As our police chief said he works under OEM during a disaster.

So, is central command for CERT county wide, or do they break it down smaller, by regions or towns. I'm assuming you're in Monmouth County (but under your avatar it says "country"). Who handles the training and dispatch, is it one location for the complete county or are there smaller groups that get dispatched to different areas of the county or coming out of certain towns?

I see there is one coordinator for Ocean County, my area, I sent a quick note to him for more info.

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54 minutes ago, Sniper22 said:

So, is central command for CERT county wide, or do they break it down smaller, by regions or towns. I'm assuming you're in Monmouth County (but under your avatar it says "country"). Who handles the training and dispatch, is it one location for the complete county or are there smaller groups that get dispatched to different areas of the county or coming out of certain towns?

I see there is one coordinator for Ocean County, my area, I sent a quick note to him for more info.

Overall CERT is a program of FEMA. Each state has an OEM as well as each county and town. At each level they are independent but work closely within the overall framework.

In the fall of 2016 all local CERT's were invited to the State Police Headquarters in Trenton to display some of the equipment that they have. It gave us all a chance to see what other towns are doing. There is also periodic county wide training for disasters as well as between adjacent towns.

At the individual level the mechanism to activate CERT can vary. Some towns have the CERT manager activate individuals. In other places (I am not sure if this is in NJ or other states) any individual that happens to be first on the scene of a disaster can activate CERT. There are protocols setup by FEMA on the proper procedures to use. Smaller towns don't necessarily have a very active CERT program.

The following link to FEMA will provide much more information:

https://www.ready.gov/community-emergency-response-team

"The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the 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. CERT offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization that professional responders can rely on during disaster situations, which allows them to focus on more complex tasks. Through CERT, the capabilities to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters is built and enhanced."

"At the same time, the CERT program was designed as a grassroots initiative and specifically structured so that the local and state program managers have the flexibility to form their programs in the way that best suits their communities. CERT volunteers are trained to respond safely, responsibly, and effectively to emergency situations, but they can also support their communities during non-emergency events as well. There are over 2,700 local CERT programs nationwide, with more than 600,000 individuals trained since CERT became a national program." 

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All the counties in N.J. have very well established centralized communications. I would imagine CERT would have to tie into those somehow in order to coordinate with PD, EMS and Fire.  I’ve never heard any CERT resources on radio but can’t remember any incidents where they were involved. 

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I have been a CERT member for around 4 years.  Basically, FEMA makes Fed funds available to counties and they've done quite a bit of CERT training in NJ.  I've participated in all of that training.  The goal is to have better emergency training at the local level.  Clearly some of the training is 'wasted' on individuals who move away, aren't committed and so on.

I'm a ham but they weren't really interested in that.   Training has generally been good, very little practical application and I guess that's a good thing.  OTOH, you never know ...

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I received a response from the local county coordinator. He claims that my town doesn't have a specific team, and they call in county resources when needed. He said next training session starts in October, so I'll probably check it out.

 

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