The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

November 21, 2012

Class on disaster preparedness to be offered in Rainelle

The Greenbrier County Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency will offer a disaster preparedness class in Rainelle early next month.

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program teaches people about preparing for potential disasters in their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, search and rescue, team organization and medical operations.

“This is a basic CERT class,” explained GCHSEMA assistant director Paula Brown. “The people attending will learn a little bit of everything. There will be book work and skills training.”

Examples of the skills training that will be provided in the two-day course are how to size up a disaster, perform medical evaluations, assess structural issues and use various types of fire extinguishers.

Brown pointed out that, although the basic CERT class has been offered several times in eastern Greenbrier County, the Rainelle course will mark the first time for the western end of the county.

“We hope to have predominantly people from the west end register, since this class is being held in Rainelle, but it is open to the entire county,” Brown said, noting the class is limited to 25 people.

The class will begin Dec. 8, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and will conclude the following day, with a session running from 1 to 5:30 p.m. Participants must be present the entire time.

There is no fee for this class, Brown said. It is funded via a Volunteer West Virginia grant.

“All participants who complete the class will get their own emergency response backpack, valued at about $80,” Brown said.

The backpack will contain such essentials as a helmet, gloves, tools to turn off gas and water valves and triage tape.

“This class arose from the input we received during the community meetings we held following the derecho,” Brown explained.

After the CERT training is complete, participants will be better equipped to assist others in their neighborhoods or workplaces in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, before professional responders arrive.

To register for the Rainelle class, send an e-mail to gcema@greenbriercountyema.net or call 304-645-5444.

— E-mail: talvey@register-herald.com

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