Joint Matawan-Aberdeen CERT Team Graduates 10 New Members
Members of the Matawan and Aberdeen CERT Team finished eight weeks of training with a hands-on session
Dedicated volunteers searched Matawan Municipal Community Center to triage victims after a natural disaster, only to later find a bomber in the bathroom of the evacuated building Saturday morning.
The realistic drill was the final training session for the joint Matawan and Aberdeen Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), making local residents Brian Campbell, Karen Campbell, Brian Livesey, Jess McDougall, Marion Morrissey, Diana Noble, Alon Regev, Felix Rivera, Jarred Shaw and Kym Somma the first official members of the municipalities' team of community volunteers.
In November, Matawan and Aberdeen decided to combine services with a shared CERT team. CERT is nationwide initiative set in motion after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The program falls under the Office of Emergency management and according to Aberdeen Township's website, members are trained to respond to emergencies and can provide "critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site."
The hands-on training was followed by a graduation ceremony, where the new members received their official CERT gear, including a safety vest. Herb Caravella, the the communications coordinator of the already established Aberdeen CERT, said that hands-on training is an essential capstone for the course, reinforcing the skills volunteers learned in a realistic situation.
"It's just training people to be more aware. What I tell people is if you don't have time for the fire company, you don't have time for first aid, you do have time for this class. It betters you, your family and you can help your neighbors," Caravella said.
The class was run by Caravella and Diana Noble, an experienced Red Cross volunteer.
"Without the joint effort and support of the two towns this could not have happened. You are only as good as the people who believe in you and support you," Caravella said.
The volunteers are certified to help in the event of a disaster, however both towns still have to pound out the legalities and insurance details before passing resolutions to make the joint CERT team official.