In 1985, The City of Los Angeles Fire Department developed a pilot program to train a group of leaders in a neighborhood watch organization. A concept developed involving multi-functional volunteer response teams with the ability to perform basic fire suppression, light search and rescue, and first aid. This first team of 30 people completed training in early 1986 and proved that the concept was viable through various drills, demonstrations, and exercises.
Today, there are CERTs in 50 states, three US territories and six foreign countries.
In Columbiana County, we work under the Emergency Management Agency ( EMA ). We do not self-deploy for emergencies; instead, we make sure that our own families and neighborhoods are safe, and deploy when called out by the EMA. We train monthly on a wide range of topics, and offer classes for new members twice a year.
Our members are your neighbors - men and women from various backgrounds and with a broad range of personal and professional skills. They are all dedicated to make Columbiana County better for all of us.
ROLES of CERT:
CERTs are not intended to replace a community's response capability, but rather, to serve as an important supplement to it. CERT members must keep their own safety in mind as their first priority. CERT volunteers must know their capabilities and the limitations of their training and equipment and work within those limitations. Team members are considered "Good Samaritans" and are covered under the Volunteer Protection Act. When deployed appropriately, however, CERTs can complement and enhance first-response capability in neighborhoods and workplaces by ensuring the safety of themselves and their families working outward to the neighborhood or office and beyond until first responders arrive. CERTs can then assist first-response personnel as directed. CERT is a training program that prepares you to help yourself, your family, and your neighbors in the event of a disaster. During an incident, emergency service personnel may not be able to reach everyone right away. By getting trained in CERT, you will have the skills to help emergency responders save lives and protect property.
As a member of Columbiana County CERT, you can respond to disasters, participate in drills and exercises, and take additional training. CERTs are known and trusted resources to emergency responders and their communities. Under the direction of local emergency responders, CERTs help provide critical support by giving immediate assistance to victims, providing damage assessment information, and organizing other volunteers at a disaster site. Volunteers trained in CERT also offer a potential workforce for performing duties such as shelter support, crowd control and evacuation. The role of a CERT volunteer is to help others until professional emergency personnel arrive.
In addition to supporting emergency responders during a disaster, the CERT program builds strong working relationships between emergency responders and the people they serve. CERTs also help the community year-round by helping with community emergency plans, neighborhood exercises, preparedness outreach, fire safety education, and workplace safety.
Columbiana County CERT Board of Directors
Columbiana County CERT is a non profit association. Our Board of Directors is comprised of:
President: Debra Moore
Vice President: Jeff Zeh
Treasurer: Allen Cottrill
Secretary: Paula Cope
Columbiana County EMA Director: Peggy Clark
You can reach any of the Board members by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
"After the terror attacks in 2001, I was so worried about how I would manage in a large-scale disaster: I knew the professional emergency responders would be overwhelmed quickly, and I needed to learn how to take care of myself and those around me. CERT gave me the knowledge I needed to make that a reality. I continue to stay active with the group as my civic duty to Columbiana County - and because it's fun! We train hard, but we have also become close friends and we always manage to make training a fun and sociable experience."
Allen Cottrill, Training Coordinator and team member since 2015