Graduates earn emergency response certificates through FEMA program
On Sunday at 3:30 p.m., 37 individuals graduated with Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) certification after participating in an intensive 21-hour training program. The training was hosted by the Santa Barbara Foodbank and the graduation ceremony took place at the New Foodbank Warehouse at 80-82 Coromar Dr. in Goleta.
CERT training is a nine-unit course offered and certified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“This covers basic skills that are important to know in a disaster when emergency services are not available. With training and practice, and by working as a team, you will be able to protect yourself and maximize your capability to help for the greatest number of people after a disaster,” according to FEMA.
The final exam was a simulated disaster scenario which took place at the new Foodbank warehouse.
“We have to come together and do this together as family and friends. So we have opened this training up for families. Even kids are participating, I have a couple kids participating as a victim,” Anthony Rodriguez, the Foodbank’s operations and disaster services specialist, told the News-Press on Thursday.
“Before, during and after disasters, CERT volunteer teams perform basic response activities, including checking in on neighbors, distributing information to the public, supporting emergency operations centers and helping to manage traffic and crowds. Local CERT programs train and organize teams of volunteers to assist their families, neighbors, co-workers, and other community members during emergencies when professional responders may not be immediately available to provide assistance,” according to FEMA.
The instructors for this weekend’s CERT training were Mr. Rodriguez, Yoli McGlinchey of the Santa Barbara Fire Dept., Mike Williams of FSTI (formerly in emergency response at UCSB), Bob Strojek of the Red Cross, Liliana Encinas at Listos, Lloyd Sims of Santa Barbara County Department of Public Health, retired firefighters Mario Cuevas and Vidal Vego and Justin Haagan of Safety Matters.
“I just really think people should take advantage of the opportunity to take the classes when they have it. It’s not if, it’s when. If you aren’t prepared it can take a toll on you physically and mentally and the more prepared you are the better you can help. It’s good to know your neighbors are prepared. We are all in this together,” said Mr. Rodriguez.