NEWS | Oct. 15, 2015

Community Emergency Response Team trains volunteer emergency responders

AMEDDC&S, HRCoE Public Affairs

The Community  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 its command. 

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.