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Are you interested in being prepared for any emergency? Do you want to help your community in time of disaster? Can you spare a few hours to become a community volunteer and learn potentially life-saving skills?

You may be interested in becoming an official Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteer. CERT volunteers are trained in disaster preparedness and basic disaster response methods. Fire safety skills, team organization, disaster medical operations and light search and rescue routines are covered. Trained CERT volunteers can then assist those in the community in a disaster when professional first responders are not available. CERT volunteers can also help by supporting emergency preparedness agencies in their own communities.

CERT Class Registration Ends Soon

Fall Registration for the free Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training for Harrisonburg and Rockingham County residents ends September 2nd. The CERT training is offered by the Rockingham County Fire and Rescue, and runs from September 20th through November 15th.

Call the Rockingham County Fire and Rescue at (540) 564-3175, or call the Harrisonburg Fire Department at (540) 432- 7703 to learn more about and to register for official CERT Volunteer training in this area.

The Fall classes will be held at the Rockingham County Offices. The address is 20 E. Gay Street. Training is done both in the classroom and by indoor/outdoor exercises.

REMEMBER: FINAL DAY TO REGISTER FOR THE FALL TRAINING CLASSES STARTING SEPTEMBER 20th IS FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2nd!

Becoming an Official CERT Volunteer

To become an official CERT volunteer, you must take the classroom training offered by a local agency, such as the Rockingham County Fire and Rescue in this area.

Other communities in the Virginia area that offer CERT training include Charlottesville, Greene County, Lexington, Louisa County, Staunton and Waynesboro. A complete list can be found at the Virginia Department of Emergency Management.

Optional Online CERT Training

There is optional CERT training available online for those who wish to learn about disaster preparedness without necessarily becoming official CERT volunteers. The training materials, including videos, are free to use and download.

The main CERT website is at https://www.fema.gov/community-emergency-response-teams. Those interested in getting online training can download the official Training Materials in several formats, including those for the disabled and those who speak and read Spanish.

Included in the training materials are the instructor guides, the participant manual and PowerPoint slides for the presentation of the lecture. There are supplemental training materials too, covering animal response, emergency communications, traffic and crowd management and flood response.

Anyone can download and take the online training course and when successfully finished will receive a certificate of completion. It takes 6-8 hours to complete the online course. Note, as above, that you must complete the classroom training to become an official CERT volunteer.

Register now and learn to help your community when they need it most, during a disaster.