We are all aware that there have been many cuts to the emergency services and local authorites, and this has reduced the ability for those organisations to react as they once did during emergency and/or disaster situations. There are times when a community will suffer some kind of major emergency or disaster situation. If that situation is isolated, the emergency services will deal with that situation with little or no assistance from the community, but if it’s part of a greater situation that affects other areas, such as the floods during the early 2000’s when large areas were affected, the emergence services can be stretched to the point where they are unable to respond and so communities are left to look after themselves for a period of time until the emergency services can be released to assist.
It is becoming so important that communities have the ability to look after themselves for that period of time when they are on their own, it is with this in mind that the CERT programme has been created.
CERT volunteers undergo a 9 hour training programme, after which you will be part of a CERT Team where, if required you will be called upon to support your community until the emergency services arrive. Some of the situations that may require call out could be flood, major storms, snow etc.
Our guide explains much more about the background to why Blue Lights Brigade has established the CERT initiative then talks through how CERT teams operate and how the training is structured. (download the guide here).
In summary – around 10 to 12 volunteers form an area based Community Emergency Resilience Team to help out, should the need arise, in times of a emergency. At point of mobilisation, the team will be directed by the operating emergency services to deploy in an appropriate and useful manner in order to help the community and also relieve pressure on official resources. The volunteers themselves will go through a formal training programme (9 x one hour sessions, which include tests and a mock exercise) after which they are certified as CERT members. Of course we always hope that the emergency and the mobilisation never happens, but in quieter times we’ll keep your skills refreshed and hope each volunteer will get active volunteering in other ways within their communities, always ready to jump into action as a CERT member when needed.
If you’re interested in getting involved as a CERT team member then please get in touch. You’ll need to commit to the training programme, but we’re staging these sessions in ways that work for the people who can get involved. This is not an ‘off the shelf’ exercise – we’re trying to make it work for everyone interested.
At present we’re looking to create CERT teams in Cleethorpes, Grimsby and Immingham and are exploring options for teams in Scunthorpe, Hull and East Riding. But wherever you are, get in touch so we can have a conversation.
If CERT sounds too much commitment, then don’t forget there are a huge range of other volunteering opportunities through Blue Lights Brigade that you could get involved in. We’ve got Safe and Well check teams, occasional RiverClean days, opportunities to be a marshal at events, research and admin roles, and of course a huge number of volunteering opportunities in charities and voluntary groups across the region. Just get in touch.