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Slots remain open for CERT disaster course through June in Olean

May 22, 2009
Westfield Republican
OLEAN – There are still slots open for the tri-county Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training that takes place over a three-week period in June, reports CERT Instructor Leslie Vattimo, who is also director of emergency disaster services for The Salvation Army’s Empire State Division. The CERT training is being offered by the county Emergency Management offices in collaboration with Citizen Corps of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. Anyone completing the training can become a member of a local CERT team or support his or her community in other ways in an emergency. The training runs from 6 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays — June 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16 and 17 — at The Salvation Army, 310 E. State St., Olean. To register, call the Olean Salvation Army at 372-6740 or go online to The CERT course is sponsored by CCARES (Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany Regional Emergency Support). CCARES is under the auspices of Citizen Corps. The Citizen Corps council members include: The American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, The Department of Heath, RSVP, Emergency Management, United Way 211, and others. For those who cannot make it to the June training in Olean, another three-county CERT course will be offered in the fall in Wellsville. “The CERT program educates people about disasters and hazards that may impact their areas and trains them in basic disaster response skills,” CERT Instructor Vattimo said. Those skills include such things as fire safety, light search and rescue, knowledge of the Incident Command System, disaster psychology, and first aid/CPR. Using training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT team members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help, Vattimo said. “CERT team members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects.” In addition to Vattimo, other instructors include Red Cross trainers, Cattaraugus County Emergency Manager Chris Baker, and local HAM radio operators.


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