July 17, 2013

Blog: Can you help? You CERT-ainly can

Jessica Lane, Staff Writer,
The Express-Star

— You're making mac n' cheese on the stove when you hear the strains of Cindy Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" ringtone indicating that your sister is calling and you have been dying to reminisce about your shared rogue childhood.

So you're yakking it up, by now laughing about the time you both accidentally burned your mother with pudding when you smell something … burning!  How did your kitschy paper mache cat get so close to the stove? Smoke and the smell of burning starch fill your tiny kitchen.

Uh oh. Maybe you should have learned how to use a fire extinguisher--having one would have been a good start. But you're just an ordinary citizen. Ordinary citizens are no help during a disaster, right?

Wrong. Very soon, citizens of Grady County may be able to help in disasters big and small as well as assist emergency workers in non-emergency situations by becoming members of a community emergency response team (CERT).

At the Grady County Commissioner's meeting on Monday, Dale Thompson, Emergency Management Director, presented the idea of forming a CERT comprised of Grady County citizens.

According to FEMA, the CERT Program educates people about disaster preparedness and trains them in basic disaster response skills. Using this training, the CERT members can assist other in their neighborhood or workplace when professional responders are not immediately there to help.

Thompson said CERT members may be comprised of stay at home parents, retired folk and some teenagers. I think that such a program would be especially good for Grady County youth.

Training for disaster requires discipline, attention to detail and staying alert. It would also look great on a resume.

Also, from the many benefits and charities that have been set up right here in Grady County following the Moore tornado as well as Chickasha's commitment to other charities like Relay for Life, I think it's safe to say our county is full of people willing to lend a hand.

We at the Express-Star will keep you informed on whether or not a CERT is on the horizon for Grady County. Maybe you would like to become a CERT member, or at least move in next door to one.