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UMFK to host first session of CERT training

January 13, 2005

NR05013

The University of Maine at Fort Kent will be the site for the first training session of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). The training will take place on Thursday, February 10, from 4:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the Nadeau Hall teleconference room on the UMFK campus.

Vernon Ouellette, director, Darren Woods, deputy director, and Ken Keaton, CERT volunteer coordinator of the Aroostook County Emergency Management Agency, will be conducting the readiness and training session.

The workshop is a mandatory organizational training session that is an extension of the online training that all current members are participating in for certification.

In October of 2004, UMFK began working with the town of Fort Kent and the Aroostook County Emergency Management office to establish a community emergency response team in Fort Kent. The university assisted with the solicitation of potential members for the team. Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) are formed by members of a neighborhood or workplace who want to be better prepared for the hazards that threaten their communities.

CERT members will be able to assist others by applying the basic response and organizational skills that they learn during the specialized training. These skills, such as light search and rescue, medical triage and treatment, preparedness, and crisis awareness, can help save and sustain lives following a disaster or emergency until additional help arrives.

CERT teams for the Aroostook region have been identified and names of participants have been submitted, and grant funding has been requested and approved to get the teams off the ground.

Five teams have been organized, Ashland Area, Aroostook Band of Micmacs, Fort Fairfield area, Presque Isle area and the Fort Kent area. The Fort Kent area is boasting the largest membership with the best response and participation.

According to Ouellette, it is essential that the CERTs receive their initial training by May of 2005.

Each CERT member will, after completing the 20 hours of training (10 hours of which is on line), receive certification and some personal equipment which will become their own property. For more information about the CERT program, you may visit: http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/CERT/

"This program meets the institution's mission of public service and fits in perfectly with our rural public safety administration degree program" said Allen Shoaff, assistant professor of public safety administration and the program coordinator.

CERT has an open membership and interested persons are invited to sign up by contacting Shoaff at 834-7563 or Donald Eno, academic outreach coordinator, at 834-7835 with their name and contact information.

Applications are also available by going directly to the Aroostook County Emergency Management web site at http://www.aroostook.me.us/ema.html.

When on the site, scroll to the bottom of the page, click on the CERT logo and fill out the application. You will be notified of meetings and training dates.

Refreshments will be served prior to the program. Interested persons are encouraged to attend the training. Applications will be available at the meeting.

Call Eno at 834-7835 for more information.