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CERT Emergency Preparedness & Response Training Begins in March

posted Jan 25, 2012, 11:14 AM by RockSpring CivicAssociation   [ updated Jan 25, 2012, 11:17 AM ]

Arlington County has asked that RSCA post the following announcement concerning upcoming CERT training. Increasing the number of CERT trained volunteers in Rock Spring can be of great value to all of us in an emergency and would have been a real asset during the aftermath of the micro burst storm last July 3 that heavily damaged several of our neighborhoods. So please give serious consideration to signing up for this training.

Resolve to be Ready in 2012

If a major storm knocks out power in Arlington and roads are impassable due to ice, downed trees and utility lines, how well will you be able to cope? Many in northeastern states were faced with just such a challenge in recent months as snow, ice and rain wreaked havoc on their day-to-day lives. Stores, ATMs and gas stations were closed and government resources exhausted quickly. The only supplies available were those people already had on-hand. And it was cold and dark. Disasters can happen any time and your ability to bounce back quickly has a lot to do with the steps you take to be better prepared beforehand.

One important step you can take to be better prepared for and able to respond to and recover from all types of emergencies -- large and small -- is to complete Community Emergency Response Training (CERT). This eight-session, 26-hour course provides important information and skills needed to help yourself and others in emergencies and is offered twice a year. It is sponsored by the Arlington County Citizen Corps, Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Fire Department (ACFD) and follows a FEMA/DHS all-hazards curriculum used around the globe.

To-date, over 530 individuals have completed CERT training in Arlington County. It is open to Arlington residents -- and those who work in the county but reside elsewhere -- who are at least 18 years of age (16 and 17-year olds if accompanied by a parent or adult guardian) and able to participate in all aspects of the training, some of which requires lifting and carrying. We have members of all ages. The training is free, but participants are expected to acquire certain supplies themselves, many of which you probably already have on-hand. All classes meet at the Arlington County Fire Training Academy in Shirlington and are taught by ACFD, ACPD and OEM staff and CERT members.

Some complete this training simply to be safer in their own homes and workplaces. Others choose to complete additional requirements necessary to become active members of neighborhood teams trained to assist in major disasters. All help make Arlington County a safer place to live, work and play!

Spring CERT classes are scheduled to begin March 15 and 20 and available spaces will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Advance registration is required. If you'd like additional information or would like to sign up, please contact the program's volunteer coordinator, Cynthia Kellams, at

In the meantime, a few winter preparedness tips from your neighborhood CERT members ...

-- Make sure you have enough food (non-perishable, such as canned goods) and water on-hand to last three full days. The suggested amount of water (primarily for drinking) is one gallon per person per day for each member of your household. The three-day guideline applies all year-round, not just in the winter. The neighborhood Harris-Teeter or CVS might not be open in a disaster!

-- Keep a working flashlight in your home and extra batteries for all your devices that may need them. A battery operated AM/FM radio is a good idea, also. Give some thought as to how you'd continue to operate without power for a few days (no light, no ability to charge cell phones, no television, etc.). This is a great topic to pose to family members around the dinner table!

-- Take a few minutes to locate the fire hydrants nearest your residence and workplace in case assistance is needed uncovering them following a major snowfall (as happened in 2010). It's easier to find them before they're buried!

Have a safe winter!