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Garfield Seeks Civilian Volunteers For Emergency Response Team

If you're interested in joining Garfield's CERT, contact Police Community Affairs Officer Jeff Stewart at jstewart@garfieldpolice.org.
If you're interested in joining Garfield's CERT, contact Police Community Affairs Officer Jeff Stewart at jstewart@garfieldpolice.org. Photo Credit: Garfield OEM

The Garfield Police Office of Emergency Management is looking for city residents to join its Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

“We are looking for upstanding, dedicated citizens who would like to be able to help in situations before first responders arrive,” Garfield Police OEM Commander Lt. Mike Marsh said.

First responders are often overwhelmed during and after a disaster, Marsh noted.

"Experience has shown...ordinary citizens make over 80 percent of successful rescues as they respond to the emergency in their community," the lieutenant said. "However, many untrained volunteer rescuers actually may cause harm or become injured in the process.”

CERT training helps people “be better prepared to respond to emergency situations," Marsh said. "Members support first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site."

The focus is "to be able to first help yourself, then your family, then neighbors, then the larger community,” the lieutenant said.

Training covers:

  • disaster preparation;
  • basic fire-suppression techniques;
  • conducting head-to-toe triage assessments;
  • techniques for opening airways, controlling bleeding and treating shock;
  • debris removal;
  • victim extrication;
  • how to search a structure.

CERT members also help with non-emergency projects that help improve the safety of the community. That could be handing out information in neighborhoods about safety awareness or providing water to first responders during special ceremonies held in hot weather Marsh said.

Volunteers are taught in the community by a team of trained first responders and fellow citizens who've completed a CERT instructor course.

The next training begins in mid-September.

Garfield's CERT currently has a little over two dozen members.

“People should consider signing up if they have a desire to help their neighbors and the community as a whole, especially in times of need,” Marsh said .

If you're interested, contact Garfield Police Community Affairs Officer Jeff Stewart at jstewart@garfieldpolice.org .

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