The latest Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class is nearing completion of its rigorous nine weeks of instruction. Their graduation exercise will take place tonight, Wednesday, May 2, at the Lexington Fire Training Center (1375 Old Frankfort Pike) beginning at approximately 6:00 p.m.
NOTE: This exercise simulates an actual tornado strike or other disaster in an urban Lexington neighborhood. CERT members will perform actual victim extraction, firefighting, search and rescue and other actions typical during the first hours of a community emergency.
“The purpose of CERT is to provide training to individuals, members of neighborhood associations and other groups so in case of an emergency or natural disaster, they can provide immediate help to preserve life, property and the environment until professional first responders can arrive,” said Pat Dugger, Director of Lexington’s Division of Emergency Management. “CERT members also become Preparedness Ambassadors, a group of volunteers who assist with community emergency management programs and exercises.”
The training classes are three hours long and teach disaster preparedness, fire safety and suppression, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, disaster psychology, radio operations, team organization, terrorism incident and accident response. The last class is an actual disaster exercise.
CERT classes began in 2004 and since then, the Division of Emergency Management has organized 28 groups and more than 300 people have completed the coursework.
Depending on class content, classes are taught by members of the Lexington Fire Department or the Division of Emergency Management staff. Upon graduation, CERT members receive a backpack filled with preparedness supplies.
The next CERT class will take place in September. Pre-registration for the CERT class is required and class size is limited. Please contact CERT coordinator, Shelley Bendall, at (859) 280-8063 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for registration forms and materials. A more detailed description about the CERT program is available on the government web site at: http://bereadylexington.com/cert/.
Citizens can access information about the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government by calling LexCall, the city’s centralized service and information contact center. Most telephones can connect to LexCall by simply dialing 3-1-1. The regular number for LexCall is (859) 425-2255 and is answered Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Information about city programs and services is also available via the government website at www.lexingtonky.gov. Citizens may also receive news and information from the city’s Twitter account – Lexkygov.
More information about emergency preparedness is available from the Division of Emergency Management website available at: www.BeReadyLexington.com. Information about the division is also available through the Lexington Emergency Management Facebook page – Lexington KY Emergency Management and the Division of Emergency Management Twitter account: @Lexkyem.
MEDIA NOTE: CERT class participants are available before and after the exercise for interviews. The scene at the Lexington Fire Training Center is realistic with volunteers simulating a variety of injuries and conditions. A photo gallery of a past exercise is available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lexkyem/albums/72157659960434209