At a time when most North Coast residents have been focusing on the dual potential crises of wildfire and El Niño-caused winter storms, some wise community members soon will take the opportunity to learn how to better help themselves and their neighbors in preparing for and dealing with those and other emergencies.
The next training class for the Cambria Community Emergency Response Team starts at 6 p.m. Jan. 11. The 20-hour training runs Mondays and Wednesdays through Jan. 20, with a final class on Jan. 26. Classes are held at the Cambria Fire Station, 2850 Burton Drive.
Deadline is Jan. 4 to sign up for the class and pay the $35 fee, which covers first-aid supplies and a student manual.
Countywide fire and emergency officials have praised Cambria’s CERT as being among the best such programs in the state.
Foresters and various officials estimate that many thousands of Cambria’s pines and other trees are dead or dying, primarily because of the devastating four-year drought. So falling trees may be an especially likely hazard this winter, if El Niño storms materialize as some forecasters expect they will.
CERT members learn skills that make a real difference when first-responder emergency services are overwhelmed by widespread crisis situations, such as after an earthquake, wildfire or other natural disaster. Many CERT members also help in search-and-rescue or fire operations and assist emergency and law-enforcement crews in other situations.
In the past, team members have assisted first responders during situations ranging from heavy storms and “red flag” days when fire danger is high to searching for a missing Alzheimer’s patient. Others use their skills to help themselves, their families and their neighbors in emergencies.
The Cambria Fire Department, Cambria Healthcare District, SLO County Fire Chiefs’ Association and SLO County Sheriff’s Advisory Foundation sponsor CERT training sessions periodically.
Call 927-6240 for a class flier or more information, or go to www.cambriacsd.org and click on Fire & Safety, then Community Programs.