Public safety — Community training prepares residents for emergency situations, creates volunteer team prepared for deployment

It’s been years since Newberg had its own standalone Community Emergency Re­sponse Team (CERT), but Yamhill County Emergency Manager Sue Lamb said emergency response training is still something county residents benefit from.

CERT is a national program that offers training and information to participants for handling emergency situations. The county offers classes about three times a year, but the upcoming Sept. 23 class is new.

“CERT basics is for people who have never been through before,” Lamb said. “It’s just for the average citizen or business owner … to be better prepared for their own life and for their family.”

The training lasts eight weeks, meeting for three hours each class.

“Generally speaking, after people go to the class, there’s two outcomes,” she said. “No. 1 is everyone who’s gone through the class has learned something. It puts people in the community better trained and better prepared to help if a disaster or emergency if occurs.”

She said most take the class and that’s the end. But there are some who become active CERT members.

“If we had a disaster we’d come to the team to support the response efforts in a variety of capacities,” Lamb said. “They are those folks who become active, they have some additional requirements … to become an extension on our organization.”

So far, she said almost 500 county residents have participated in the emergency training, with about 80 to 100 people active and deployable, although they haven’t been deployed yet.

“I put the team on standby last winter because it looked pretty bad (during the February snowstorm),” Lamb said. “They haven’t been called out perse yet, but have some great experience and help us do some exercises as well.”

The active team also volunteers for various events and competes in the CERT Rodeo.

“Last year Yam­hill County CERT did more than 4,300 community service hours,” she said.

She added that even if people are only interested in learning emergency management for themselves, she encourages it.

“I’m a big proponent for doing it just for the sake of going through it as well,” Lamb said. “It’s wonderful to have people who want to learn and help out with a disaster. That’s very helpful, but it’s always great to have people who have gone through (training) and (say) ‘I can take care of myself.’”

The classes are free and start at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 23 at Newberg Fire Department Station 21. For more information, visit www.

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