University Heights CERT

Walter Stinson, community coordinator of University Heights, two CERT volunteers, and Fire Chief John Pitchler. Photo by Anita Kazarian.
The Community Emergency Response Team, CERT, was used to conduct a flu vaccination clinic at Wiley Middle School on Sunday Nov. 9. The city's annual senior flu shot program vaccinates a few hundred people per year.

CERT teaches resident volunteers to understand potential disasters in their area and trains them in basic response skills. When an emergency happens, professional responders may not immediately be available. When they are, they may need assistance. University Heights CERT volunteers are an organized group, trained for such an event.

The flu vaccination clinic used the national CERT protocol as a drill to ensure its team is prepared. University Heights Emergency Response Organization, under Fire Chief John Pitchler, performed flawlessly. Peter Bernardo, president of the CERT team, calls periodic meetings for ongoing training.

The CERT concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department in 1985. Since 1993, CERT training has been available nationally from FEMA. The uniform protocol ensures professional response teams from any place in the Unites States will find a uniform and effective community organization to offer support.

University Heights residents are welcomed to apply as volunteers to CERT. Anyone 18 years old and older may apply by contacting City Hall.

Anita Kazarian is a resident of University Heights and enjoys being an active citizen.

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Volume 1, Issue 9, Posted 10:56 AM, 11.05.2008