Saturday, 25 May 2013 00:00
The Community Emergency Response Team program helps individuals prepare for emergencies—large-scale ones like Superstorm Sandy and smaller ones like minor fires. The program’s new classes start in June.
Team Director Michael Arcari said the sessions help people know what is needed in an emergency situation and how they can help others. It also provides knowledge on how to assist first responders and groups like the Red Cross.
“We make sure people are prepared and have their own plan and supplies. A lot of people don’t get prepared, so when an emergency does happen, they expect someone to take care of them,” Arcari said. “We give them training so they have an idea of what they need for themselves and how they can help others.”
The new classes begin at the New Cassel Community Center in Westbury. Over the course of the six classes, students will learn skills such as fire suppression and radio use, disaster medical procedures, light search and rescue, sheltering and disaster psychology. The classes are hands on, and open to any Nassau County resident 18 years of age or older.
After finishing the six-week class, students will become team certified, which allows them to volunteer with the group. Arcari said many individuals go on to become EMS or volunteer firefighters. During a state of emergency, team volunteers are also deployed by Nassau’s Office of Emergency Management to help at places such as shelters and distribution points.
The classes also teach some basic medical skills, which enable team graduates to help out in emergency situations. Arcari recalled an elderly couple that went through the class. The woman had a heart attack, and because of the CPR training he received, her husband was able to save her.