The New York City Emergency Management Department hosted a disaster simulation exercise for Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) trainees at George Washington High School in Inwood on Wednesday, November 20, 2019.
Instructors from NYC Emergency Management, FDNY, and NYPD tested and reviewed the trainees’ emergency preparedness and response skills in fire suppression, search and rescue, medical operations, and traffic management.
“Our CERT program is a great way for New Yorkers to get firsthand experience in basic emergency response. It gives volunteers the tools they need to help their friends and neighbors prepare before a disaster happens,” NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell said. “I hope the excitement of this disaster simulation has been educational and inspired each of these volunteers to bring emergency readiness back to their communities.”
“When you are prepared, there is no fear,” CERT trainee Anita Bailey said. “Taking the CERT training has empowered me to be an asset to my community and to anyone who is in need of help during an emergency. I have obtained knowledge and skills that will last me a lifetime.”
“I had a very exhilarating experience at the CERT Disaster Simulation exercise on November 20. It was amazing to see how all that I learned in the classes came together in my mind in order to respond in an organized and effective manner,” CERT Trainee Dilletta Pina said. “I was in the fire group and we worked together like a well-oiled machine. We helped each other, we looked out for each other’s safety, and we all followed the instruction of our lead person. This experience will stay with me for a long time.”
During the simulation exercise, participants, under the guidance of their instructors from NYC Emergency Management, FDNY, and NYPD, extinguished live fires, conducted basic triage assignments, and removed trapped victims.
The disaster simulation exercise wraps up the 35th CERT basic training cycle. Fifty volunteers are expected to join the CERT program following graduation at NYC Emergency Management headquarters at 165 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, on December 2, 2019.
The New York City CERT program started in 2003 with 106 volunteers. Today, there are more than 1,200 credentialed CERT volunteers throughout the five boroughs. NYC CERT volunteers participate in a 10-session basic training program where they receive instruction from active members of the NYPD, FDNY, and NYC Emergency Management. Volunteers are trained in disaster preparedness and basic emergency response skills, including fire safety, light search and rescue, disaster medical operations, and traffic management. After completing basic training, new members join local CERTs to support their communities by assisting City agencies that prepare for and respond to emergencies.