Santa Paula Times

CERT classes: Let unique community service start the New Year off right

January 11, 2006
Santa Paula News

Start the New Year off right through a unique form of community service that could be a lifesaver in times of disaster.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesStart the New Year off right through a unique form of community service that could be a lifesaver in times of disaster.Santa Paula Fire Captain Steve Lazenby, the city’s Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, will be overseeing the Citizens Emergency Response Team of citizens who want to be at the forefront of disaster response and readiness.“We already have CERT members but we need more but I want to encourage those who want to take the training but not be an active CERT member to take,” the series of classes starting on Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Depot.Cpt. Lazenby said that there will be seven to eight classes that will cover “all sorts of things including medical emergency and light search and rescue...we’ll do a review and actually do a drill,” testing and utilizing the knowledge garnered from the CERT classes.Such training is being encouraged around the country he noted.“Our first class we divide people up, sort them up and put them in teams so they can learn as a team, put their heads together. There is a lot of classroom instruction,” including field training followed by an evaluation.
A recent training exercise in a building near Amgen in Newbury Park included heavy lifting and shoring, rescues of “all sorts and types including complicated rescues” and setting up a triage.Cpt. Lazenby noted that a recent training exercise was sponsored by the Red Cross and included four hours of training specifically geared to train accidents.The exercise included real trains for rescue training he added and volunteers that acted as accident victims.The upcoming CERT class will be limited to up to 25 people with preference given to Santa Paula residents although Cpt. Lazenby said he plans on initiating “back-to-back classes” if enough CERT students step forward. “We’ll get two series of classes going, have one a couple of weeks behind” so people can catch up if they have to miss one of the sessions, which will be held for seven weeks.CERT classes will last about two hours and graduates will receive an official CERT helmet and vest for use in case of emergency or disaster.“My goal is to train several hundred people” to ably respond to emergencies and disasters either on a large-scale basis or in their own neighborhoods. “We’re basically looking for adults but older teens” could be admitted to the CERT program, Cpt. Lazenby added.For more information contact Cpt. Lazenby at 933-4297 or email: