Archive for Thursday, February 24, 2005

Eudora group trained for an emergency

February 24, 2005

Over the past months, several Eudora residents have volunteered their time to be trained as members of an emergency response team in Eudora.

The Community Emergency Response Team, known as CERT, graduated eight participants from Eudora this month. The volunteers are trained to know how to assist fire and police personnel in the event of a disaster in Eudora or throughout Douglas County.

Eudora Police Chief Greg Dahlem said the volunteers were taught basic first aid and basic rescue techniques so they can be prepared to help in a disaster, such as a tornado.

Other local communities, including Lawrence and Baldwin City, have also recently completed CERT training.

Eudora's CERT team is the first the community has had. Besides Dahlem, its members include Janell Barnow, Doug Fay, Ruth Hughs, Greg LeRow, James Miller, Jeanette Spencer and Viola Thomas.

The program was started in 1985 by the Los Angeles City Fire Department, and has grown throughout the United States. The program is managed locally by the Douglas County Emergency Management Department.

Douglas County Weapons of Mass Destruction Specialist Bill Brubaker taught most of the course, Dahlem said. Paramedics and a local chaplain also helped with the medical and crisis management elements of the program. Dahlem was also on hand at most meetings to answer questions regarding city policies and how the volunteers could most effectively help his department in a crisis.

CERT team members participated in one class a week for eight weeks before graduating from the program last week.

"They really wanted to give back to this community in a positive way, and this was an opportunity to do so," Dahlem said.

Now that the graduates are trained, each is listed on a roster with Douglas County and could be called out to help in an emergency.

"If it's a big enough event they could be needed anywhere in the county," Dahlem said.

Dahlem said the program is something he believes will help local emergency personnel do their jobs in the event the CERT team is needed.

"The biggest part is just having some extra eyes, ears and hands around for whatever emergency service personnel need," he said. "We will utilize the CERT members if we need to."

Training will begin again March 22 in Lawrence. Brubaker said anyone from the county is invited to participate. He said the Emergency Management Department plans to hold future training in Eudora, but a date has not been set.

Those interested in signing up to participate in CERT team training in Lawrence can register online at www.douglas-county.com or call Brubaker at 832-5260.

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