City of Rochester Wins Michigan Citizen Corps CERT Team of the Year

The City of Rochester Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT), sponsored by the Rochester Fire Department, was awarded the Michigan Citizen Corps ‘Team of the Year” at the State Citizen’s Corp Conference held in Traverse City in December.  The CERT team is one of 313 CERT teams in the State of Michigan that were considered for the 2014 State award.

CERT Team at the awards ceremony

CERT Team at the awards ceremony

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Programs educate people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community, the press release stated.

Nominations for the Citizen Corps Team of the Year are open to all Michigan Citizen Corps Partner Program Teams and Units that have promoted citizen and community preparedness through outstanding initiatives, leadership, commitment and/or creativity.  Citizen Corps teams include Community Emergency Response Team, Fire Corps, Medical Reserve Corps, Neighborhood Watch, or Volunteers in Police Service programs.

Some areas of consideration for this award include, but are not limited to:

  • Coordinating and recruiting Citizen Corps affiliate partners
  • Providing innovative or creative approaches to community preparedness activities
  • Making a difference in the community
  • Demonstrating the ability to overcome challenges, commitment to the community, and initiative and leadership in the citizen and community preparedness field

During the presentation of the award the Rochester CERT team received recognition for monthly training, multi-agency mock disaster, a dedicated trailer that contains a cache of equipment for basic rescue, along with traffic and crowd control.  This equipment has been used during County wide training and offered to other CERT teams to assist with their needs when requested.

The Rochester CERT team coordinators, John Shepp and Mike Bantjes said the CERT Team also received recognition for conducting basic CERT classes that are open to anyone in the states and for the 4 deployments the CERT Team participated in looking for missing citizens and the multiple planned events that the CERT team assisted in supporting a safe environment for large crowds in the City of Rochester and in Oakland County.  John Shepp said “I am very proud of each one of the members of the CERT team and their commitment to be prepared.”

“Rochester firefighters and our CERT team deserve this award and every bit of credit they receive in protecting our community with world-class emergency response services”, said Rochester City Mayor, Jeffery T. Cuthbertson, “ Everyone in Rochester should be thankful of the 40 plus CERT team members who have prepared themselves to support Emergency Planning and Response in the City.” Cuthbertson went on to say that in the event of an emergency the trained CERT team can be deployed to assist police and fire responders to help ensure the citizens of Rochester’s personnel safety.

Rochester City Manager Jaymes Vettraino, encourages anyone interested in helping their community to know that the CERT Team is always looking for new members. Anyone wanting to get involve needs only to contact the Rochester Fire Department at 248-651-4470 or attend an open CERT team meeting which is held on the second Wednesday of each month at the Rochester Fire Station.  All training and equipment is supplied to CERT Team members at no cost.

About Sarah Hovis

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