Deadline for applications for CERT program was March 24
Niagara Region is looking for 100 new volunteers for its Community Emergency Response Team, known as CERT.
Volunteers are trained to assist the community in times of disaster or crisis.
They learn to provide first aid and rescue, help with disaster relief efforts, handing out emergency supplies and other duties.
The region is accepting applications on its website until March 24.
“It doesn’t matter what your occupation is. We want people from all trades because everyone brings something different to the table,” NOTL resident Carmen Lampman told The Lake Report.
Lampman is a paramedic in Haldimand County and was one of the first 50 volunteers on the response team in 2022.
She was promoted to team lead this year.
She’s lived in Niagara-on-the-Lake for about eight years and moved here from Germany, where she belonged to the German Red Cross.
Since her move to Niagara, she’s wanted to join something similar.
“I just like this kind of work. I like to give back to my community,” she said.
When she heard of the response team, she just knew she had to be a part of it, she said.
However, Lampman wants people to know that they are not alone — it is a team effort.
“You have your team lead, you have your other volunteers and they’re there to support you,” she said.
As a team lead, Lampman assists with training and first aid.
If the CERT teams is deployed to deal with an emergency, she’ll be responsible for four to eight volunteers.
Once trained, volunteers will download an app to their phones that will notify them via email or text message of any emergencies that require their assistance.
The team was deployed last December during the major Christmas blizzard. They provided assistance from Dec. 25 to 27.
The alert went out Christmas morning, said Lampman.
The team did a total of 120 hours of coverage over the span of three days and helped many families who could not go back home.
“Basically you check in with people, you help set up the cots, the chairs, asking if they need anything, asking if they need any extra care or if (they) need food,” she said.
“Just comforting them, because they are away from their house, they can’t go back,” she added.
The latest batch of volunteers will be recruited in two groups of 50 and will need to complete eight weeks of in-person and online training.
The first training session starts in April and the second session will begin in September. Both will run Thursday evenings.
By Somer Slobodian, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Mar 22, 2023