Do you want to know how to take action and help the community during an emergency - whether it's a fire, medical issue or natural disaster?
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is nationwide initiative that falls under the Office of Emergency management. According to Aberdeen Township's website, members are trained to respond to emergencies and can provide "critical support to first reponders, provide immediate assistance to victims and organizae spontaneous volunteers at a diasaster site."
CERT in Aberdeen will be hosting free training classes, but cannot schedule an exact date until they have enough interested candidates.
Members do not need any prior emergency training or knowledge, just a dedication to helping others. There are no requirements for physical fitness or age, said Herb Caravella, the communications coordinator of CERT in Aberdeen. The organization currently has a member in his eighties who completes paperwork.
According to Caravella, when CERT first began in Aberdeen there were about 50 members. Now there are about 20 members and the organization is looking to grow.
When needed, members are activated through a reverse 911 phone call alert. They have assisted emergency personnel with locating missing persons and a water main break. They are also trained to assist in fire and police calls by bringing officers needed supplies.
During Hurricane Irene, members were on call but were not activated. They were available to set up and run a shelter, according to Caravella.
Although based in Aberdeen, the organization is welcoming members of Matawan to join in hopes of creating a joint Matawan and Aberdeen CERT team.
Interested residents should contact Herb Caravella via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 732-583-4200 ext. 799.