Harris County Improves Preparedness For Emergencies Through Growing Program

Almost 30,000 county residents have taken the CERT course and have learned about fire suppression, search and rescue tactics, and disaster medical triage

Harris County is improving its preparedness to react to emergency situations and natural disasters through a growing program that trains civilians on first responder techniques.

The program is known as CERT –which stands for Community Emergency Response Team— and the number of Harris County residents that have been trained so far will reach 30,000 next week, when the latest class graduates.

People can become a CERT member by taking an eight week course taught by emergency management professionals and first responders who provide instruction about topics such as fire safety and how to put out small fires, as well as search and rescue tactics, and disaster medical triage.

Mark Sloan, coordinator of the Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, notes several people who have taken the course helped during the Hurricane Harvey response.

"CERT members in Tomball were assisting in the shelter operations and also they did some damage assessments, and then were able to help support some of the shelter activities as well in Jersey Village," Sloan explains.

You can listen to an example Sloan gives about how the CERT program can help in the response to emergencies.

Sloan said the program is useful because it teaches everyday people to be better prepared to react to emergency situations and natural disasters.

The latest CERT class includes students from East Aldine and Humble.

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