Volunteer training offered for emergency response

February 23, 2003

The Harford County Community Services Department's Volunteer Connection Section will begin coordinating free emergency response training this summer.

The training helps residents prepare for hazards that threaten their communities.

The training program is to help fulfill President Bush's call for community service.

County and state officials want the public to understand that the government is not using residents as first responders or deployable teams, said County Emergency Manager Douglas Richmond. "The real focus is to train our citizens so that they might assist in protecting themselves, their neighbors and their community in times of emergencies or disasters," he said.

Because the county will offer this training to community groups for free, there is no need to contract with outside agencies or individuals who charge for this training, Richmond said. The program will be coordinated through Harford County's Volunteer Connection RSVP office.

The basic training will include about 16 to 20 hours of search-and-rescue operations, damage assessment, fire suppression, disaster medical operations and other aspects of emergency management. Optional courses such as certified first aid also may be included.

Using the basic curriculum, participants prepare for a disaster. These activities may include identifying and mitigating potential hazards in the home and workplace; initiating plans to prepare for hazardous situations; and learning skills to help until professional aid arrives.

For more information on the emergency training effort, log onto the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Web site: training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/CERT/new_CERT/index.htm.

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