POINT PLEASANT — Mason County 911 Director Dennis Zimmerman has achieved a a goal set forth when he was first hired – establish a competent and ready CERT team for Mason County.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a group formed of volunteer civilians with training to assist the public in times of emergency.
Functioning as a part of the county Emergency Management Agency (EMA), CERT is a group that continues training while being ready to assist existing agencies in times of disaster.
“Because we’re in such a rural area, if a disaster strikes we will have to rely on volunteers,” said Zimmerman.
Due to the significant distances between towns in Mason County, volunteers play a crucial role in bridging the gap of emergency coverage and response.
“They are the eyes and ears in the public when disaster strikes, helping us coordinate a response,” stated Zimmerman. “Their intended purpose is hazard mitigation and emergency response.”
In essence, CERT is a flexible reconnaissance team that can gather information and help guide emergency services and disaster relief to where they are needed most.
They also coordinate with amateur radio operators, also called HAM radio, for efficient communications. In a disaster situation radio space is often tied up with law enforcement and emergency medical services. Therefore non-emergency communications like CERT use amateur radio operators to communicate without tying up valuable radio time.
CERT will be holding its next training meeting this Monday, July 24 at 6 p.m. at the Mason County 911 Center. If anyone in the public is interested in joining CERT, contact Team Leader Chuck Absten at 304-654-0023.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.