Hoboken recruiting community members for emergency services team

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The City of Hoboken searches for Community Emergency Response Team (CERF) members to volunteer their emergency services to help safeguard lives during a disaster — such as Hurricane Sandy.

State-certified trained community members joined the Community Emergency Response Team (CERF).
State-certified trained community members joined the Community Emergency Response Team (CERF) earlier this year.

By Katherine Guest/Hudson County View

Following Hurricane Sandy, the city graduated CERF’s fourth certified volunteers in February 2014. With 100 members, the state-certified trainers will hold free CERF certified classes for 60 more trainees this fall.

“We invite interested residents to join our nationally-recognized Community Emergency Response Team,” Mayor Dawn Zimmer said in a prepared statement. “They are a model for how volunteers can make communities more resilient not just as first responders after emergencies, but also by helping our residents to be better prepared.”

Hoboken’s CERT volunteers have been recognized as “Community Preparedness Heroes” by FEMA, and CERT Coordinator Lou Casciano was honored as a Community Preparedness and Resilience “Champion of Change” by the White House, the city said in an email.

The CERF Program educates members of the community, district organizations, and working class citizens about the basic skills needed during a natural or death-defying disaster—some being fire safety, disaster response skills and medical operations. Organizational skills are also essential during emergencies to gather together and assist unequipped community members.

During disasterous events the police department, EMT’s, or FEMA responses may become delayed, so in this scenerio the CERF would use their basic and organizational abilities to aid the public until community professionals arrive.

Starting on October 18, 2014, classes, such as “Disaster Preparedness & Fire Safety” are held in the Multipurpose Service Center, 124 Grand Street from 9:30 am through 4:00 pm – with an hour lunch break in between. The schedule includes:

10/18/2014 – Disaster Preparedness & Fire safety

10/19/2014 – Disaster Medical Operations 1 & Disaster Medical Operations 2

10/25/2014 – Light Search and Rescue Operations & CERT Organization

10/26/2014 – Disaster Psychology & Terrorism and CERT

Additionally, at the Hoboken Volunteer Ambulance Corps, a final simulation exercise will occur at a date to be determined.

All participants are required to attend every class to become an official CERF team member — including the final simulation practice.

Finally, a CERF Member Emergency Kit will be distributed to certified members upon completion of the emergency courses.