Meet your neighbors: Local group helps prepare for disaster

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The Oak Lodge CERT are trained volunteer members who want to build our community to be more resilient to natural and man made emergencies.

We asked local Oak Grover Ed Jahn (and CERT member) some questions about the new group being formed. Here are his answers. Thanks Ed!

What is CERT?
During large emergencies like an earthquake, it is expected that professional first responders will not be able to attend to every resident quickly. CERT members step in to serve as auxiliary help to bring aid to family and neighbors and others in our area.

Will there be local meetings each month?
Yes, monthly meetings are planned.  This is a new CERT group so we have not confirmed a regular meeting schedule yet but we will post the schedule to our web page soon with updates.

What are the goals of Oak Lodge CERT?
We’re still working on our official list of goals and mission statement. Put simply, our aims are to:   1) Educate  ourselves and our community to increase emergency preparedness.  2) Train – in personal and public safety disaster preparedness 3)  Prepare – ourselves, families and neighbors to assist and support each other to better withstand emergencies and hazards 4) Assist – government responders during situations where the number and scope of incidents may have overwhelmed conventional emergency service.

Who can join?
After a major crisis or earthquake- are you the kind of  person who wants to wait for others to do everything for you, or are you the kind of person who wants to step up and do everything you can to help your family, your neighbors and  your friends? If it’s the latter, then CERT is for you. CERT will give you the basic training- you just need the motivation and will to help those around you.

What type of commitment is needed?
All CERT members have to attend an initial CERT training that takes about 24 hours. These trainings are broken out over a period of weekends or weeknights. It’s a great way to meet some neighbors, connect with the emergency responders in your area and gain the confidence of knowing that your family and friends can look to you in times of need.

What skills will be learned or needed?
CERT volunteers are given basic training in disaster preparedness, first aid, fire suppression, light search and rescue and that sort of thing. You’ll learn how to prepare your own “Go Bag” of emergency provisions. The way I look at it, being trained is the best defense against angst and anxiousness because I’ve done what I can to weather an emergency and not be utterly dependent on others. Its nice to know I have just enough skills to help my own family and provide aid to neighbors as well. I think that’s the position most people would like to be in. If that sounds like you, we encourage you to sign up!

Is there contact info for those that are interested?
There are a great group of leaders now at Oak Lodge CERT and they are just ramping things up to get the word out.

A new Facebook page just launched and they can be found on Twitter at @OakLodgeCert. Right now we’re still working closely with Milwaukie CERT- they are really helping us get on our feet and moving as our own CERT organization here in Oak Lodge. More detail about the CERT mission and goals and trainings through Milwaukie can be found here: http://milwaukiepsf.org/cert.html

The group will meet next on Tuesday, February 17 at 7:00pm at the East Side Athletic Club.

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