June 17, 2013

Whitfield CERT members reach 141 after seventh class graduates

Submitted by Whitfield County government

— The number of Whitfield County citizens who have undergone CERT training climbed to 141 with the recent addition of 18 new members honored during a recent graduation ceremony at the 911 Center’s Emergency Operations Center.

Taking part in an earlier Community Emergency Response Team training were Robert Bearden, Bert Boozer, Dennis Burke, Starr Christmas, Shawn Davenport, Marisela Fernandez, Caitlin Freeman, Tammy Freeman, Ed Gilligan, Ragavati Kandiah, Shannon Knight, Kerry Madden, Louis Madden, Barbara Mendez, Kathy Muller, Marcy Muller, Cory Spence and Jackie Stephens.

“Whitfield County Emergency Services is proud of every individual that finished and look forward to continuing the journey with these and future graduates of the program,” Emergency Management Agency Deputy Director Jeff Ownby said. “The participants came interested and eager to learn. Each person made a commitment to themselves, their families and their communities to learn the program to the best of their abilities.”

CERT coordinator Amy Cooley welcomed the graduates and their friends and family members, while CERT coordinator Carla Kelley and Ownby presented certificates to the graduates. Louis Madden spoke on behalf of the class.

The first day of training, April 27, marked the two-year anniversary of the deadly tornado  outbreak that devastated Catoosa County.

“Local governments prepare every day for emergencies,” Ownby said. “However, during a disaster, the number and scope of incidents can overwhelm conventional emergency services. CERT is designed to help you protect yourself, your family and your immediate community in the event of a major situation in your neighborhood.”

CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens may initially be on their own and their actions can and do make a difference, Ownby said.

“While people will respond to others in need without the training, one goal of the CERT program is to help them do so effectively and efficiently without placing themselves in unnecessary danger, therefore minimizing one’s risk of bodily injury and simply becoming another victim,” he said.

Participants received training in the areas of disaster preparedness, fire safety, medical operations and basic first aid, search and rescue, and much more.

For more information about this free program, contact Claude Craig, Ownby or Kelley with Whitfield County 911 at (706) 370-4911 or email cert@whitfieldcountyga.com. You can also check out the program on Facebook at Whitfield CERT.