C.E.R.T of Columbia, NH

Content submitted and compiled by:
Richard Johnsen – Director, [email protected], [email protected]

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates 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 CERT of Columbia was started in 2006 and has been going strong since its beginning. Columbia has already held one complete training session qualifying and training almost 30 people as honorary CERT members. It was one of the largest turnouts in all of NH CERT history. If you would like to learn more please read on or sign up for the next training session on your right.

CERT Training:
The CERT course is delivered in the community by a team of first responders who have the requisite knowledge and skills to instruct the sessions. It is suggested that the instructors complete a CERT Train-the-Trainer (TTT) conducted by their State Training Office for Emergency Management or the Emergency Management Institute in order to learn the training techniques that are used successfully by the LAFD.

The CERT training for community groups is usually delivered in 2 1/2 hour sessions, one evening a week over a 7 week period. It can also be held as a weekend course, consisting of two full days. The training will cover the following:

  • Session I, DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Addresses hazards to which people are vulnerable in their community. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during, and after a disaster. As the session progresses, the instructor begins to explore an expanded response role for civilians in that they should begin to consider themselves disaster workers. Since they will want to help their family members and neighbors, this training can help them operate in a safe and appropriate manner. The CERT concept and organization are discussed as well as applicable laws governing volunteers in that jurisdiction.
  • Session II, DISASTER FIRE SUPPRESSION: Briefly covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards, and fire suppression strategies. However, the thrust of this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, sizing up the situation, controlling utilities, and extinguishing a small fire.
  • Session III, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS PART I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding, and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.
  • Session IV, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS, PART II: Covers evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area, performing basic first aid, and practicing in a safe and sanitary manner.
  • Session V, LIGHT SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques, and most important, rescuer safety.
  • Session VI, DISASTER PSYCHOLOGY AND TEAM ORGANIZATION: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and worker. It addresses CERT organization and management principles and the need for documentation.
  • Session VII, COURSE REVIEW AND DISASTER SIMULATION: Participants review their answers from a take home examination. Finally, they practice the skills that they have learned during the previous six sessions in disaster activity.

During each session participants are required to bring safety equipment (gloves, goggles, mask) and disaster supplies (bandages, flashlight, dressings) which will be used during the session. By doing this for each session, participants are building a disaster response kit of items that they will need during a disaster.*Much of these items can be provided by the Town of Columbia, contact for more info.

Current Columbia CERT Members include:
(includes, but is not limited to, the following)
Rick Johnsen, Marcia Parkhurst, Marlene Cloutier, Garry Parkhurst, Norman Cloutier, Phil Monson, Bob Soucy, Carolyn Foss-Monson, Kay Soucy, Buddy Boudle, Sam Boudle, Blake Johnsen, Audrey Reid, Brenda Tibbitts, Rick Tillotson, Linda Tillotson, Scott Stepainian, Coralie Stepainian, Paul Rella, Valerie Rella, Scott Deblois, Deborah Deblois, Peter Dion, Hellen Dion.

Columbia Citizen Corps Contact:
Marcia Parkhurst – Secretary, [email protected]
Richard Johnsen – Director, [email protected], [email protected]