Workshop notes: CERT, Community Response Team

who: Linda Keen (CERT volunteer)
what: CERT (Community Emergency Response Team)
where: Centuries & Sleuths Bookstore
why: Sisters in Crime meeting, Chicagoland

This past weekend, I found myself once again with my fellow Sisters in Crime, this time at a talk by Linda Keen, a local CERT volunteer. CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. They’re a group of volunteers who work in conjunction with FEMA to train communities to prepare for disasters, such as tornados and flood evacuations.

Linda Keen, CERT volunteer
“We just want to help people.”

What I didn’t know

In searching the CERT website, I learned there are two CERT groups in towns right next to mine and that they’re also all across the US. They usually reach their communities through the local fire or police departments.

CERT volunteers are protected from lawsuits by the same Good Samaritan Law that protects any person who helps during a crisis situation. While they are not medically trained volunteers, they do know First Aid and are trained to triage and assess victims and survivors. While they may not be first responders, they are the second wave of much needed helpers.

Other situations in which CERT helps

CERT volunteers have also been known to perform light search and rescue tasks like performing a line sweep search for a missing person. (Great info to know for mystery writers.)

They also help to train the community to prepare for disaster, like keeping supplies on hand at home if the worst happens in your neighborhood.

CERT brochures
Your local CERT volunteers may have more information like this, including a disaster preparedness checklist.

My takeway

I had no idea this organization existed, but you can bet if disaster hits, I’ll be glad they do.

And they gave us gifts! Water pouch, emergency poncho, waterproof matches, and a flashlight.


Full Slab Dead (Josie Tucker #4) update: I’m now about 90% done with the first draft. The end is in sight! Stay tuned. ARC readers, your copies will be coming soon.

Unmasked fantasy update: Meanwhile, if you’re still reading this and you’re a fan of fantasy stories with a romantic twist, I have freebie codes for the audiobook of Unmasked (Rise of the Masks book 1). TJ Richards did a great job bringing Mel and Ott to life. Comment on this post below if you’d like a free download code while my supplies last.

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