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When a disaster occurs, it’s essential for communities to pull together. When citizens have the proper training to assist first responders, it can help save lives.

Saving lives is a priority for the Surprise Fire Department, which is why they plan to offer free disaster relief training to Surprise residents who are interested in helping the community in the event of a major storm or other disaster.

About the CERT Program

The disaster relief training in Surprise is part of the Community Emergency Response Team Program, which is called CERT for short. CERT was founded in 1993 as a way of fostering preparedness in communities across the United States. The program’s roots are in Los Angeles, where city officials decided they needed to empower citizens in the event of a major earthquake.

CERT was always intended to be a grassroots program where community leaders had the freedom to design classes in a way that served their communities and people. In areas that are prone to hurricanes, for example, the classes might focus on water rescue as part of the training provided.

Overall, the program aims to teach:

  • General disaster preparedness

  • Fire suppression

  • Team organization and psychology

  • Light search and rescue operations

  • Medical operations

  • Disaster simulations

Today, the CERT Program is administered by FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security. There are CERT programs in all 50 states, with over 2,700 local programs around the country. Since its inception, more than 600,000 citizens have received CERT training.

The funding for the Surprise program is coming via a grant from the Arizona Department of Homeland Security.

Who Can Participate?

The CERT training program in Surprise is open to adult residents of Surprise. Because seating in the classes is limited, those who are interested should enroll as early as possible. At present, there are no future classes scheduled in Surprise, although it’s possible that may change in the future.

Citizens who can’t enroll in the CERT classes can still find ways to help with emergency preparedness in the community. The Surprise Fire Department has a comprehensive disaster preparedness page on their website. It includes:

  • Information about how to help special needs citizens and senior citizens

  • Supply lists

  • Assistance in creating a family emergency plan

  • Links to the Arizona Department of Homeland Security and other resources

You can find the page here.

Training in Surprise

The initial round of CERT training in Surprise is scheduled for May of 2019. Classes will be held on:

  • Tuesday May 7th

  • Thursday May 9th

  • Saturday May 11th

  • Tuesday May 14th

  • Thursday May 16th

  • Saturday May 18th

Participants will be required to complete all classes to be certified. The Tuesday and Thursday classes will run from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, and the Saturday classes will run from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM. All classes will be held at the Surprise Fire-Medical Administration Building, which is located at 14502 West Statler Plaza, #101.

If you’re interested in participating in Surprise’s CERT training, you can call (623) 222-5000 for additional information or to register for the program.

As a part of the Surprise community, Storage West is excited to hear about this new program. Safety education is an important part of keeping us all safe.

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