For years I had heard about a rather amazing accreditation that’s offered free of charge to residents of the City of Rancho Mirage. So I finally took the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program Training this summer, and I couldn’t be happier that I did. Granted, the time commitment of this nationally certified program—20-hours over a three-day period—seemed daunting at first. But not only did I really enjoy the course, the time flew by and I met 40 wonderful fellow residents of the Palm Springs Valley, a group of people in their 30s to 80s, from all walks of life, who were also committed to learn how to assist those in need during a major crisis.
CERT Training is intended to provide ordinary citizens like you and me the ability to master basic disaster response skills such at fire safety, search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. It’s also meant to enable us to acquire the knowledge needed to help others in the workplace or in the community following a major event—especially when professional responders aren’t immediately able to reach us. Both classroom discussion and hands-on training helped us understand what able-bodied individuals can do to assist those in need, as well as how to prepare for the many disasters that could potentially occur in our part of the world: floods, earthquakes, chemical spills, and wildfires.
Although the course material is obviously very serious, we all enjoyed ourselves during the three days we spent together. By the end, my fellow trainees and I felt like we would be better able to assist if something major did occur, and had agreed to live by the CERT model of “doing the greatest good for the greatest number.”
Our esteemed City Mayor, Iris Smotrich, is a big supporter of CERT training (which, of course, she has taken) and asked me to encourage our many readers to consider enrolling in the course when it’s offered again this fall. Go to the city website at www.RanchoMirageCA.gov and subscribe to the e-blast information about the various City programs and activities—including emergency preparedness. Information on the next training will be announced when it’s confirmed. And if you need additional information, call Rancho Mirage City Hall at (760) 324-4511. [CERT Training also takes place in other locations throughout the Palm Springs Valley and Riverside County. However, Rancho Mirage residents are not reimbursed for those courses if a charge is levied.]