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Connecticut town offers CERT training program

One of the ways to get ready for unexpected peril is to conduct disaster response training for volunteers. Fairfield, Conn., is doing just that with its recently announced Community Emergency Response Team program that will start in March, according to Fairfield Patch.

Assistant Chief Christopher Tracy said that the CERT curriculum will be carried out by the Town of Fairfield Emergency Management Office. The project aims to enable community members to assist emergency responders with local safety and crisis recovery.

"This training is very important, because in the case of a big storm or natural disaster, the CERT trained residents are the ones that often help staff and prepare the community shelters," Tracy said.

The Fairfield CERT program operates under a national initiative, the Citizen Corps, that is sponsored by the Connecticut Department of  Emergency Services and Public Protection and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Participants aren't required to pay admissions fees, but must be 18 years or older.

Training projects like CERT can be supplemented by a number of other preparedness measures, such as communication measures like mass notification systems to quickly notify volunteers of resources needed. Because keeping everyone informed is essential during disasters, officials may consider implementing communications that includes text message alerts, which can be provided by systems like uAlert from Omnilert. Text messaging is often the most reliable communication channel during a regional crisis, while other channels become overwhelmed and inoperable.

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