In November of 2018, a new compliment of 27 new CERT volunteers graduated from an 8 session academy. Captain Rockey Adams issued the following statement regarding this new CERT academy.
"We are blessed in Berrien County to have a rich tradition of community members to lend a hand to those in need during disasters. Fortunately, we don't have many disasters, but it is great to know that the community will come together when we do. Each time we see volunteers sign up to learn how they can help themselves, their neighbors, and their community during disasters, it makes us proud. The 2018 academy had a great, enthusiastic, and fun group of students. This was a fun session."
"I'm also very thankful of having great, dedicated instructors. Corey Burks of the Sheriff's Office and Berrien Springs/Oronoko Fire has been a great academy coordinator for years. I'm also thankful for Paul Rainwater of the Niles Township Fire Department and David Albers of the Sheriff's Office and the Berrien Springs/Oronoko Fire for their instruction. We are very thankful to the Fire Chief's Association for allowing us to use instructors for this academy through their firefighter training committee. Finally, this academy could not happen without the support from Sheriff Paul Bailey and our County Commissioners."
"New to this year, we offered a block of study on the civilian response to active shooter events. That addition to the curriculum came with high praise. We have been working hard over the winter months to explore new opportunities for additional curriculum changes. We also are working on making the program stronger by developing new instructors and exploring volunteer program manager opportunities."
"So, plainly, what that means: We want to offer a CERT instructor course in the near future as well as program manager courses. We hope to deliver an instructor course in Mid-March. The program manager course will likely be set for April. Our goal is to allow smaller entities, such as a local municipality, school, church, or business to establish a local program and help us to maintain volunteers. Many local programs can then come together as a bigger "County-Level" team when large disasters strike. We believe that all emergencies will start at the most local level and expand as more help is needed. For this reason, we believe smaller teams can be most engaged at a more local level. They can learn who the professional responders are in their community and begin a dialogue on how they can best help them during planned events or small emergencies. Businesses can benefit through CERT training to develop emergency response teams within their organizations. Business CERT members could help with planning, continuity of operations, and respond during emergencies within a company."
"We are also looking toward some opportunities for refresher training, like CPR and First Aid Training, Wide Area Search, and helping us to provide realistic drills for responders." Stay posted to this news feed for announcements on these opportunities."
We are excited to see what can be done with our CERT program for 2019 and beyond, but we don't want to forget why we are writing this article in the first place....We celebrate and offer pride to our newest graduates of CERT. They now join 233 graduates who remain in our community today!