LISBON — Volunteers who respond to emergencies in local communities when needed now have a fully-stocked trailer to assist them in their efforts. he Columbiana County Community Emergency Response Team known as CERT recently displayed their renovated trailer at the county Emergency Management Agency so county commissioners could see how their generosity paid off.
EMA Director Peggy Clark said CERT acquired a trailer a couple years ago to take to scenes of disasters and other emergencies where they’re called to help. One of those emergency situations was providing traffic control when residents lined up in their cars in the winter of 2021 for COVID vaccine shots. The trailer had no heat at the time.
Commissioners offered up $12,000 which paid for communications equipment, HVAC, interior and exterior lighting, and a generator for the trailer so the team will be equipped when deployed.
“They help us in a multitude of ways,” Clark said.
CERT is a volunteer emergency response/training program under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, with information about the program posted at www.ready.gov/cert.
According to a press release about CERT, teams are specialized and look different dependent on where they’re located, with training based on local community needs. For example, teams on the west coast train for earthquake events, while southern teams train for hurricanes. In Columbiana County, CERT trains for hazard events and is sponsored by the county EMA, based at 215 S. Market St. Lisbon, Ohio 44432 and reachable at 330-420-1020 or via email at Ccert2017@yahoo.com.
The mission is to “prepare for countywide all hazards disaster planning, community emergency preparedness education, community warning, training response and recovery efforts. Prepare and protect the citizens of Columbiana County before, during and after natural and man-made disasters.”
Clark said the local team has 29 members and there’s even a dog in training. She said anybody interested in preparedness for themselves or the community can join, explaining that not only can they assist themselves during a disaster or emergency, such as a weather event, it “also gives you the resources to help your neighbors.”
Sometimes first responders can’t get there right away due to the conditions, so CERT can help provide support to communities until they arrive. CERT serves in addition to first responders and agencies.
In Columbiana County, CERT has been deployed by the county EMA and provided support to several agencies, including the Sheriff’s Office, fire departments, the health department, Community Action Agency, county Humane Society and local American Red Cross.
Team basic training includes small fire suppression, light search and rescue, disaster psychology, triage during mass casualty events, First Aid I and II. CERT can provide support such as damage assessment, radiological decontamination site at Middleton Volunteer Fire Department, triage and support for the coroner during a mass casualty event, set up and support for community shelters during cold weather and heat events, flood wall set up in Wellsville, lite search and rescue and conduct ‘Stop the Bleed’ training for community groups, emergency preparedness training for community groups and traffic control for community events.
Volunteers are trained, have a clean background check and are registered with the Ohio Serves Registry. The team includes six CERT Trainers and four CERT program managers with board oversight.
The Columbiana County CERT Association depends on community support, with all donations tax deductible.
The next basic training is set Oct. 22, 23 at the Columbiana County EMA. Call 330-420-1020 to learn more. The training covers fire safety, basic first aid, local disaster response and light search and rescue. There’s no cost and a lunch is provided. Reservations aren’t required, but would be helpful in planning.
Clark said anybody can join and she couldn’t say enough about the value of CERT. She said this group always steps up and says they can help.
“We’re very lucky to have them,” she said.
Both the EMA and CERT will be at the Columbiana County Fair, which starts Aug. 1 in Lisbon. Anyone interested in joining is welcome to stop by and visit.