Next time you’re at a special event like the Havasu Balloon Festival, Relics & Rods, the Renaissance Faire, triathlons or mountain bike races, look for the group in the bright orange safety vests and take a moment to thank them for their contribution to the community. Lake Havasu City CERTainly appreciates their support.
CERT, or Community Emergency Response Team, is part of a national program that educates individual volunteers about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area. Members are trained in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Locally there are 38 volunteers ages 30 to 70-plus from all walks of life, who provide first aid services at local events, and support firefighters while they’re working a blaze, a process called Firefighter Rehabilitation, or simply Rehab.
CERT volunteers report to fire scenes to switch out air packs and monitor the health of firefighters, especially when the weather is its hottest. According to Bob MacMillan, team leader, they provide personal restorative measures such as refilling air packs, providing sports drinks, coffee, snacks, cooling buckets and cold towels, and shady places to sit during hot weather, always keeping a watchful eye on the physical conditions of the working firefighters.
“They are involved at fire scenes with their own vehicles and supplies, and provide hydration to firefighters, as well as assist the Police Department and SWAT as needed,” said Convention & Visitors Bureau interim president Chip Shilosky, a former Fire Marshall Division Chief.
“They are a terrific asset to the community willing to do anything within their scope of training. Kudos to Bob MacMillan for making that happen.”
CERT, which donates over 2,000 hours a year to community service, is also installing Knox-Box Rapid Entry Systems around town. Inside are house keys that provide immediate entry into a home in case of emergency. CERT has installed over 300, each accessible only by firefighters, according to MacMillan.
Look for CERT’s bright orange vests at over 20 events a year and thank them for their help in keeping us all safe.
For more information, contact Bob MacMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org.