PARKERSBURG - The community discovered during the 2012 derecho that it may be up to 72 hours before first responders arrive to help during a disaster or other emergency .
Roads may be blocked and power, phone and cable service may be disrupted an extended period of time. Police, fire and emergency medical personnel will likely be overwhelmed responding to life-or-death emergencies.
People will have to rely on themselves until help arrives.
The Wood County Community Emergency Response Team educates people about disaster preparedness and trains them in basic response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and lifesaving and medical operations.
Upon completion of the free 20-hour CERT Basic Training program, graduates are given a basic preparedness kit containing essential personal preparedness and safety equipment and are given the option of becoming a member of the Emergency Response Team.
Regardless, graduates can assist others in their family, neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available.
Graduates who become CERT members support local emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in the community.
In addition to CERT Basic Training and Continuing Education, Wood County CERT provides free periodic Emergency Preparedness seminars and workshops to the community.
September is National Preparedness Month, and Wood County CERT reminds all area residents of the necessity of personal and family Emergency Preparedness.
The process is simple:
For more extensive emergency preparedness information, visit the CERT website at WoodCountyCERT.org and click the "Preparedness" link at the left edge of the screen.
For more information about the Wood County CERT program, browse the website, contact Director Bob Mercer at 304 834-3611 or Administrative Officer Rick Sawyer at 304 481-3398, or write to Wood County CERT, 903 Camden Ave., Parkersburg WV 26101-5528.