As a part of the President's Homeland Security plan Citizen Emergency Response Teams (CERT)are being formed in cities all across America. The teams are made up of volunteers who are trained by CERT trainers and will be called to supplement fire, police, and other emergency services.  This year, across America, about 400,000 people will become CERT volunteers. CERT team members are trained in disaster preparedness, disaster fire suppression, basic disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, disaster psychology, and terrorism.

CERT training is designed to prepare the participants to help themselves and their families, then their neighbors in the event of a catastrophic disaster when professional emergency service may be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the event.

The Citizens Corp Council is the directive body of CERT. This council is composed of community leaders who volunteer their services. Funding usually comes from donations by various community business and industries, as well as private donations. Recently, grants from Homeland Security have been made available to help fund CERT training and supplies. CERT and the Citizens Council operate in Colbert County in association with the Colbert County Commission, Colbert County EMA, and Colbert County RSVP Homeland Security. Persons of any age over 18 may apply for membership and training as a CERT volunteer.

The CERT training is done by a certified CERT trainer. CERT classes are taught throughout the year.  Classes are eight weeks.  You may receive additional information about CERT by contacting the Muscle Shoals Fire Marshal at the following address: gcosby@Hiwaay.net. Please include your name, address and phone number, and you will receive informational material along with an application for CERT training. It is our goal to train 100 CERT volunteers this year. President Bush, in forming Citizenís Corp said, "Everyone can do something." Please consider CERT training your opportunity to help make America and Colbert County, a safer and better place to live.