The piercing and persistent howl of emergency sirens announcing the expected advance of a tornado or other severe weather strikes an appropriate sense of fear and anxiety in the general public, and with good reason, says Fire Marshal Perry Elliott.
“The sound of the sirens or warnings on radio and television are usually only minutes ahead of an impending disaster,” he said. “A community must be ready well ahead of these warnings. That’s the entire concept of the Community Emergency Response Team.”
To that end, Murphy Fire Rescue is now recruiting individuals to attend the City’s fourth CERT class. Sponsored and conducted by disaster preparedness professionals with Murphy Fire Rescue, the next CERT class begins on Sept. 11 and runs for 9 weeks. The classes conclude on Nov. 6, followed by a realistic disaster drill. Applications for enrollment are accepted until Sept. 1.
“Rule of thumb is that residents should be prepared to be completely self-sufficient for up to 72 hours following a disaster, with only the resources on hand. Neighborhood-based CERT teams have the training to help bridge that potential 72-hour gap between the incident and when additional help arrives,” he said.
The CERT program trains volunteers in disaster preparedness, looking for and dealing with hazards that may have an impact on affected areas. Participants learn basic disaster preparedness skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.
Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.
“It’s highly specialized training that can’t be picked up on the internet or by watching videos. The training is hands-on, intensive and highly-focused,” said Elliott. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age, residents of Murphy and pass a background check.
More information can be obtained from the Fire Department page under Departments at www.murphytx.org or by calling Murphy Fire Rescue at (972) 468-4300 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.