FORT SAM HOUSTON, TTexas –
Emergency Response Team, or CERT, is a program to train volunteer
emergency responders that prepares people to help themselves, their families,
their neighbors and their co-workers in the event of a disaster.
“We have seen
Americans get together and say ‘not again.’ It is the efforts that we
see from the CERT program that will ensure that we are ready and stay ready,
not only here on Fort Sam Houston, but at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph,
JBSA-Lackland and at Camp Bullis, as we continue to partner as we have for many
years with Bexar County and the surrounding communities to make sure that we
keep our communities safe,” said Maj. Gen. Jimmie Keenan, deputy commanding
general (operations), U.S. Army Medical Command, and chief of the U.S. Army
Nurse Corps, who was a speaker for the CERT kick-off at the MacArthur Parade
Field Sept. 11.
“Whether it is a natural or man-made disaster, we are
prepared to respond and everyone in the community understands what our roles
and responsibilities are,” Keenan added. “Being able to organize and be
prepared is the answer.”
According to Lt. Col. Darrell Small, CERT program manager for
the U.S. Army Medical Command and JBSA, the venture is a joint partnership
initiative between the 502nd Air Base Wing, the U.S. Army Medical Command and
Bexar County Office
of Emergency Management.
“The intent is to encourage each command on JBSA
installations at Fort Sam Houston, Camp Bullis, JBSA-Randolph and JBSA-Lackland
establish CERTs within their commands that can help provide an immediate
emergency response while waiting for first responders to arrive in the event of
a disaster,” Small said.
MEDCOM has stood up the first CERT cadre and trainers within
CERT training takes about 20 hours to complete and teaches
individuals how to identify and anticipate hazards, reduce fire hazards in the
home and workplace, use a fire extinguisher to put our small fires, provide
critical support by giving immediate assistance to victims, provide damage
assistance information and organize other volunteers at a disaster site.
“Once you become CERT certified, you have skills to help first
responders save lives and protect property,” Small added.
“This is about training the entire community. It takes all
of us to do this,” Keenan said. “It is about creating the capacity and the
ability to respond rapidly so that everyone understands what their role is in
this partnership. It is a partnership between Bexar County, the 502nd ABW and
to all the commands on the installation. It takes all of us to do this.”
“Is it very important what you are doing and the 502nd ABW
is committed to what you are doing,” said Fil Jimenez, technical director for
installation support, 502nd ABW and Joint Base San Antonio.
The second round of CERT training takes place later this
month. For more information, call 221-7242.