Fannin County’s CERT Team (COMMUNITY EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM) will be hosting its first Preparedness Fair on September 7, 2013 in the City Park in Downtown Blue Ridge, Georgia from 9AM to 4PM.
The fair is expected to have over thirty vendors displaying all types of disaster survival equipment, techniques and programs from both private vendors and public agencies in addition to food and fun.
CERT is an acronym for “Community Emergency Response Team” and is made up completely of volunteers in the community who are willing give up their time to take the training and go through a practical exercise to become a member of the team.
CERT was originally conceived by the Los Angeles City Fire Department in 1985 to train citizens to help take care of themselves and their neighbors in event of a disaster until emergency services could reach them. Today FEMA assists local emergency management agencies in establishing these CERT teams by providing training classes and funding through grants to help equip the local teams.
In Fannin County the CERT program was established in 2004 and the Aska area was first to see CERT members. The program became somewhat dormant for a period of time, but within the last three years, we have seen our CERT teams become very active in training and the number of members has grown to approximately 100 with another training class scheduled for this fall. The local CERT team is divided into 3 teams in different areas of the county. Aska CERT Team is led by Sid Allen, Cohutta CERT Team is led by Steve Riancho, and the Hothouse team is led by Bret Smith. The Fannin County CERT program is overseen by Fannin County Emergency Management Agency and a Citizen Council made up of seven local people. We have been successful in acquiring two grants to purchase equipment such as bandages, flashlights, blankets, generators, lights, two small trailers and other disaster supplies.
If a large scale disaster strikes, your CERT team is designed to “self-activate” in its own community or area where the members live. They would gather at a meeting point, then as a team, would search their own neighborhood for anyone needing help, performing basic first-aid skills, extinguishing small fires, and otherwise providing aid until emergency services can get to the area to provide firefighting, rescue, and advanced care for the injured. After that, they will be assigned to other duties such as assisting EMS in triage areas where injured victims may be taken or helping with getting food and water to victims.
We are very fortunate in Fannin County to have such a great group of volunteers and we should all come out on Saturday September 7th and show our support. The Preparedness Fair will be in the Blue Ridge City Park Downtown from 9AM to 4PM.
The above is a PRESS RELEASE from the FANNIN COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, 181 Church Street, Blue Ridge, Georgia 30513 706-632-1958 Robert Graham, EMA Director.