Sheriff’s Office to help hold a regional training class for the Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, on May 14-15 in Chalmette to educate people about disaster preparedness;

Posted: March 16th, 2016 | Filed under: SBSO News

 Albert Loar, foreground, and Scott Bowles use a fire extinguisher in a 2014 CERT. training session.

Albert Loar, foreground, and Scott Bowles use a fire extinguisher in a 2014 CERT. training session.

Remember the old Civil Defense, which had a long history of training volunteers to help out in local emergencies, including in times when the nation was at war?

Today, the closest to that is the Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, which is under the overall umbrella of U.S. Homeland Security. In St. Bernard, CERT is sponsored in conjuncture with St. Bernard Parish government through a Homeland Security grant.

Sheriff James Pohlmann said the Sheriff’s Office will help hold a free regional training class for CERT volunteers on May 14-15 to educate people about disaster preparedness. The sessions are at the Val Riess Sports Complex in Chalmette, 1101 Magistrate St. Times are from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days and the training, all materials and lunch provided both days are free.

Sheriff Pohlmann said adults interested in receiving the training should call the Sheriff’s Office at (504) 278-7628 to register.

“The CERT program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that could impact their area,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann said. “It gives them specific training in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.”

Using the training learned in the classrooms and during exercises, CERT members can assist others on their neighborhood or work places following an emergency event when professional responders aren’t immediately available to help.

“No one wants to think about something bad happening but you have to be prepared,’’ the sheriff said.

The concept of civilian auxiliaries is similar to the old Civil Defense, well known during war time. The CERT concept differs somewhat because it includes non-military emergencies, and is coordinated with all levels of emergency authorities, local to national, via an overarching incident command system.

Agencies involved in putting on the CERT event include the St. Bernard Sheriff’s Office, the St. Bernard Fire Department, the St. Bernard Port, the Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, St. Bernard Parish Hospital and the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security.