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CERT training starts tomorrow in Tyrone

Following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, many communities have been reviewing their emergency response plans.
Tomorrow, at the Tyrone Municipal Building, local municipal workers will be taking part in the first Community Emergency Response Team training in the area.
Through a grant from the Department of Homeland Security and administered by the Federal Emergency Management Administration, there will be four classes offered in Blair County and two in Fulton County.
“This program was developed in Los Angeles in 1985 by the L.A. Fire Department,” said Cindy Whitby, one of the course instructors. “The idea was to have groups of citizens ready and trained to respond in the event of an earthquake or major disaster.”
The concept is a lot like the old civil defense program – to check up on your neighbor.
“If the electricity goes out, check next door and make sure your neighbor is OK,” said Whitby. “This isn’t a bunch of vigilantes. The people who will receive this training will only use it in the event of an emergency in which first responders are unable to arrive on the scene.”
The class in Tyrone runs tomorrow from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. and the second phase of the class is March 22.
“Right now, the class is being offered to municipal workers,” said Whitby. “Once the municipalities get trained, the classes will be offered to members of the community. The municipalities have shown plenty of interest in the CERT program and it is something that is necessary following the terrorist attacks.”
The American Red Cross will teach a class on individual preparedness and tell the class members what needs to go into a 72-hour emergency pack.
Dave Lynch will teach light search and rescue and a class will also be taught on fire supression.
“I didn’t know how to work a fire extinguisher until I had a fire, and buy then it is too late” said Whitby. “We’re going to teach the class members how to use a fire extinguisher and other things to help with safety around the home.”
The next class for municipal workers will take place Tuesday and Wednesday at Bon Secours Holy Family Hospital.