Community emergency response training is taking place in Paso Robles in order to mobilize community members willing to help after a disaster.
“This recent winter storm that we had, it was obvious a lot of people weren’t prepared for this,” said John Spooner, North San Luis Obispo County CERT program manager.
The community emergency response training program is one way for community members to prepare to help out in the event emergency services are not immediately available.
“Helping with light extraction and all those things that we might not be able to get to for 72 hours realistically,” said John Prickett, Fire Captain & Paramedic Paso Robles Fire and Emergency Services.
California is no stranger to natural disasters, experiencing floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires and mudslides. Emergency services are sometimes overwhelmed during and after these events and are unable to respond immediately.
This CERT class addresses disasters specific to the northern San Luis Obispo County area such as flooding, earthquakes, power outages and wildfires.
“We talk about how to prepare for them, how to respond to them and how to recover from them afterwards," said Spooner.
The City of Paso Robles Public Works operations manager says it’s been a busy couple of weeks with flooding, landslides, road closures and debris flows.
“Really doing a lot of damage assessment, understanding what’s out there, what’s a priority, what needs to be done. We’ve been doing a lot of cleanup on storm drains, lots of cleanup on debris,” said David Lacaro, Public Works operations manager for the City of Paso Robles.
CERT aims to better-prepare residents for the next disaster.
During the CERT training program, participants learn to extinguish a small fire, participate in a structure search and rescue, terrorism disaster psychology and basic first aid.
The classes are free and are being held at the Paso Robles Fire Department. They are designed for families and anyone age 15 or older can participate.
The class is offered twice a year — once in February and once in October. The February deadline has passed.
“People really need to do this. This is as vital as having taken a CPR class,” said Spooner.
If you are interested in signing up, you can can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
The program is supported nationally by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and locally by Paso Robles Fire and Emergency Services.