BOONE COUNTY, Ky. - We're almost midway through Severe Weather Awareness Week, but the severe weather season is just getting started. That's why in Boone County, emergency managers are ramping up a program that lets everyday citizens help out in their own neighborhood during a disaster emergency. But you have to be trained first.
The Community Emergency Response Team or CERT has been going strong for 10 years. But Boone County Emergency Managers say more volunteers are needed to dawn special backpacks filled with emergency supplies. Those supplies will be needed when volunteers hit the front line during a disaster emergency.
Debbie Hoppenjans has been volunteering for six years and she knows how important the program is to helping people and possibly saving lives. "It may just be part of helping give food and blankets to people. It may actually be part of search and rescue, it may just be part of caring for others and help with distribution of clothing and necessities," she said.
CERT members can give critical support to first responders by providing immediate assistance to victims until professional help arrives. Their training also includes disaster preparedness, fire suppression, medical operations and light search and rescue.
"When we're talking about emergencies like this, we need those people that recognize what first responders do and they can help out until first responders can get there," said Tom Scheben, spokesperson for Boone County Emergency Management.
Training for the CERT program begins April 5, for residents 18 and older and it's free. To find out how you can get involved clink on any of the highlight links in this story or send an email to EmergencyManagement@boonecountyky.org.