Columbia citizens can have peace of mind knowing that the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is ready to assist with local disasters and emergencies. CERT, a national program through FEMA, is comprised of volunteers trained to respond to threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters of all kinds.
Coordinating and managing the Columbia CERT program and the team of community volunteers is The CERT Leadership Team, a dedicated group of volunteers. Maria Cox, Barbara Ball, Bob Young, Laura Naiper, Cindy Parshall, Bob Jett, and Ingrid Moertel each serve hundreds of hours every year coordinating training, maintaining equipment, conducting leadership meetings, dealing with issues, and scheduling volunteers for events. All but one, have been leading CERT since its inception. “They are the heartbeat of the CERT program and invaluable because of the services they provide our community,” Lt. Brian Davison, Assistant Fire Marshal who oversees CERT, explains about the leadership team.
“If an emergency happens, these would be the first people we would call,” Davison adds. “They are a vital supplement to emergency responders.” Trained to provide emergency medical care, search and rescue, triage, wellness checks, and basic firefighting skills, CERT volunteers serve at many Columbia events, such as First Night, Roots and Blues, Art in the Park, and football games.
~Written by volunteer Theresa Nelson