Local CERT teams prep for disaster - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Local CERT teams prep for disaster

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For nearly a decade, CERT volunteers in Bedford Township crafted their unique program that lets anyone of us help neighbors and friends.

"When there's a disaster, we train people to take care of themselves, take care of their neighbors," Gerald Mullen said.

Among all the devastation in recent weeks, you may have noticed the bright green polo shirts combing through the wreckage.  Those are the volunteers of CERT.  That's the Community Emergency Response Team, a part of FEMA.  

"There's a lot of people that need a lot of help right away.  We may not get to every neighborhood right that instant," former Bedford Township CERT director Ken Kilman said.  "So there's some situation where you might be an hour or two before you actually see a first responder."

CERT members go through at least 20 hours of free training, from basic first aid to advanced search and rescue.  They do everything from broken bones to broken gas lines.  Volunteers are always on call .. Waiting to help in times of disaster.

"But you can go on from that if you'd like," Mullen said.  "We welcome all kinds of people from all walks of life, as far as businesses or training, some people have stuff they bring with them that we can use. "

Gerald Mullen says most U.S. towns are involved, including at least 13 within 30 miles of Toledo.   One of the squad's biggest assignments was the Dundee tornado.   Clean up from that storm took weeks.

"A tornado would come through and literally just go down and be on the ground and wipe out complete neighborhoods.  That would be the toughest from a first responder standpoint... because you've got to have some very good control over the whole situation."

For information on your local CERT team, head here: http://www.fema.gov/community-emergency-response-teams
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