The city of Plano is offering local resident free training and the opportunity to join its Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

According to the Dallas Morning News, the training classes will begin in January and will be held every Tuesday evening for eight consecutive weeks.

Over the course of eight weeks, instructors will provide an overview of response skills, such as fire safety, team organization and disaster medical operations.

On the final day of the classes, program organizers will run a full-scale disaster drill to simulate a real-life disaster scenario. Participants will be asked to draw on their training to manage the situation.

The city is launching the training program after the emergency management department reactivated its CERT program.

The CERT program is supported nationally but is implemented at the local level to allow for custom hazards.

Having CERT training allows an individuals to be helpful in emergency situations when professional first responders are not yet reached the scene.

Additionally, CERT-trained individuals can also be called upon by first responders to assist in emergency situations, which allows the responders to focus on more complex tasks.

After residents complete basic training, they are eligible to become a CERT alumni. CERT alumni can attend regular meetings to continue their disaster response education, connect with other alumni and learn about upcoming volunteer opportunities.

CERT members may also be called upon by the city as needed to assist in volunteer disaster efforts. Examples of volunteer disaster roles may include:

  • Damage assessment
  • Debris removal
  • Emergency shelter management assistance
  • Light search and rescue
  • Traffic management

To qualify for the free CERT training program, participants must:

  • Live or work in Plano
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Be able to perform light physical activity with some lifting
  • Pass a background check
  • Attend every basic training class

The classes will be held on Tuesday evenings and are free for qualifying residents. For more information or to register, click here.

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