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C.E.R.T. Community Emergency Response Team

Mission Statement:

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) of Loxahatchee Groves is a non-political, non-profit, educational and publicly supported, all-volunteer group trained in community emergency response to respond after a major event or disaster until first responders arrive. Our goal is to do the greatest good for the greatest number of citizens.

In CERT volunteers of all abilities are needed. Whether the emergency is natural (hurricane, fire, explosion, tornado, etc) or man-made (terrorism incident), trained CERT responders are necessary to document activity, organize volunteers, perform limited search and rescue, communicate information, perform minor medical evaluations, manage inventory, or simply be there to support those in need. We train together so we can work together regardless of the emergency.

C.E.R.T Volunteer Program

Volunteer to help your community in times of disaster. Training for CERT is done through Palm Beach Community College and the Department of Emergency Operation for Palm Beach County. Training consists of 24 hrs of class time covering topics shown below. If you are interested in CERT training, contact Carol Bailey or Nancy Handwerg.

Week 1

DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Discussion of various types of major emergencies that may affect South Florida. Learn about the Emergency Management System and the process of disaster recovery. Become familiar with “post storm” team operations, facing problems in organizing teams under emergency conditions and operating a neighborhood “command post.” Gain knowledge of disaster psychology, damage assessment and documentation.

DISASTER FIRE SUPPRESSION: Learn about basic fire suppression strategies, team and personal safety considerations, fire chemistry, hazardous materials, and fire hazards. The focus is on sizing up the situation, the safe use of fire extinguishers, extinguishing a small fire, and controlling or avoiding hazards exacerbated by utilities.

Week 2

DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding, and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques. Also students learn the concepts of evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area, performing basic first aid, and practicing in a safe and sanitary manner.

Week 3

LIGHT SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques, and most important, rescuer safety.

DISASTER PSYCHOLOGY AND TEAM ORGANIZATION: Students learn the signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and worker, CERT organization and management principles and the need for documentation.

Week 4

TERRORISM: Participants are introduced to the concept of terrorism as it applies to CERT.

COURSE REVIEW: Participants review their answers from a take home examination.

DISASTER SIMULATION: Practical (hands on) experience which requires the student to utilize the skills learned over the past four weeks of class, including fire suppression, first aid, triage, and search and rescue. 

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Ham Radio

Because of the rural nature of our community, amateur radio will be the main form of communication between base station and teams in the field (search and rescue, transportation, fire, etc.) Rich, N6YVW, the Communications Unit Leader for the team, taught two Technician level classes for our CERT.  Several of our team are now licensed amateur radio operators and have purchased their own radios.  Some have taken additional emergency communications courses and are active in EMCOMM activities in Palm Beach County.  If all other forms of communication are down, CERT will pass messages from the town to the Emergency Operations Center and/or Emergency Operation Area 3. We manage the Loxahatchee Groves CERT Training Net on Thursday evenings at 6:30 PM on 146.67 mHz. If you are interested in becoming a ham radio operator, please contact Pat Johnson or Rich Handwerg.



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