Chesterfield residents using CERT training to prepare for emergencies

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Dozens of Chesterfield County residents are in the midst of CERT training.  From CPR to leadership, they learn special skills to help in case of an emergency, and there's a new focus right now on swine flu.

From small scale to large scale, emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere, and Chesterfield fire officials want you to be ready to help.

Lt. Matt Coffin says, it provides them with training that prepares them to help themselves, their neighbors and the county in times of emergency and disaster.

CERT training provides skills like CPR that could help at a car accident or fire scene,  all the way up to core leadership skills that could be used during a large scale emergency like a tornado or pandemic.  In fact, a new part of this training focuses on swine flu.

"With the advent of the H1N1 virus and several types of scenarios that could put us into an emergency situation, we are training people about that," Coffin said.

To give you an example of how this CERT training might work in real life, just imagine a large scale emergency where all the personnel at this fire station were out responding to it.  They might call on volunteers who had cert training to be here helping with administrative and coordinating duties.

The eight-week training course is open to all Chesterfield residents, but fire officials say they would really love retired workers to get involved.

"We are looking for those nurses, those doctors, those teachers, those people who fill like they have more to contribute, that their work is not done essentially," Coffin said.

In the end, graduates are more prepared to help in any situation.

"At the end of the training you can expect to walk away with a much better skill set, more training with regards of how to handle small emergencies, large emergencies, those things that are affecting families, those things that are affecting infrastructure," Coffin said.

The current CERT class is full, but they'll be another opportunity for 30 Chesterfield citizens in November. All you have to do is call 748-1360, and it's absolutely free.

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