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STATE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT CELEBRATES FIRST  YEAR OF COMMUNITY EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM (CERT) TRAINING

03-29-2004

This week?s course in Norman means more than 1,000 trained with Homeland Security funds.

Tornadoes and terrorism are just two of the scenarios students will face when they complete Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training this week at the Shaklee plant, 3300 Marshall Avenue, in Norman. CERT class runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 30-April 2.

During this past year the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (ODEM) has teamed up with local emergency managers across the state to offer this important training. This week the number trained will hit the 1,000-mark when Cleveland County Emergency Management joins Shaklee in hosting the course.

Participants will take part in fire suppression techniques on Tuesday, emergency medicine on Wednesday and search and rescue on Thursday. On Friday they will complete an exercise simulating the rescue of victims from a smoke filled structure.

Local governments prepare for everyday emergencies. However, during a disaster, the number and scope of incidents can overwhelm conventional emergency services. The CERT program delivers all-risk, all-hazard training which is designed to help citizens protect themselves, their family, their neighborhood and their workplace in an emergency situation.

Citizens learn to manage utilities and put out small fires, provide basic medical aid, search for and rescue victims safely, organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective, and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.

?We are excited about offering this course which continues to help enhance the Oklahoma Standard,? said Albert Ashwood, ODEM director. ?In Oklahoma we know we?re going to respond to our neighbors in need. This program helps citizens do so in an effective and efficient manner without placing themselves in unnecessary danger.?

The CERT program is part of Pres. George W. Bush?s initiative to engage Americans in volunteer service, known as USA Freedom Corps. CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens must be self-sufficient and their actions can make a difference.

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