LEICESTER – On Saturday, April 23, 2022, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) hosted a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Rodeo with speakers, workshops, demonstrations, and activities. Over 100 participants from 44 organizations attended the event designed to help volunteers be better prepared and improve the CERTs in their communities.
The rodeo featured workshops including Emergency Operations Center (EOC) operations, sheltering, teen CERT, CERT activities during COVID-19, roundtable discussions, and more with best practices and lessons learned from CERT activities. CERT volunteers perform many functions in different communities, and these workshops allow teams to learn from each other and share ideas and resources that they can take back to their cities and towns. The day culminated with a Search and Rescue workshop including a classroom session and drill to practice different search techniques.
“CERT volunteers play a critical role in helping their communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from emergencies and disasters and this event was a great opportunity for these volunteers to continue learning about CERT efforts across the Commonwealth,” said MEMA Acting Director Dawn Brantley. “During National Volunteer Month, I want to thank CERT members and other volunteers who dedicate their time and resources to help during times of need. I encourage others to volunteer with organizations who assist during emergencies to make a meaningful impact in their communities.”
Rodeo participants also got to observe vehicles, equipment, and capabilities on display from Templeton CERT, Charlton/Tri-EPIC CERT, Leominster Emergency Management, Central Massachusetts Disaster Animal Response Team, Hampshire Emergency Animal Response Team, and MEMA, while the Salvation Army Massachusetts Division canteen truck generously provided food to the attendees. The event was held on the former Becker College campus, now owned by the Town of Leicester, who graciously allowed the use of buildings, parking lots, and outdoor space to hold this event.
The CERT program is a nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization for communities to train volunteers about disaster preparedness and basic response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Over 160 CERTs are registered in Massachusetts. To find a team near you and learn about CERT volunteer opportunities, visit https://www.ready.gov/cert.
MEMA is the state agency charged with ensuring the state is prepared to withstand, respond to, and recover from all types of emergencies and disasters, including natural hazards, accidents, deliberate attacks, and technological and infrastructure failures. MEMA’s staff of professional planners, communications specialists and operations and support personnel is committed to an all hazards approach to emergency management. By building and sustaining effective partnerships with federal, state and local government agencies, and with the private sector – individuals, families, non-profits and businesses – MEMA ensures the Commonwealth’s ability to rapidly recover from large and small disasters by assessing and mitigating threats and hazards, enhancing preparedness, ensuring effective response, and strengthening our capacity to rebuild and recover. For additional information about MEMA and Emergency Preparedness, go to www.mass.gov/mema.