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MEMA Home > Programs> Communication> News > Bingham CERT Trains for Disasters

Bingham CERT Trains for Disasters


October 13, 2009


The Bingham area Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) held an emergency disaster training session on Tuesday, September 29 at Valley High School in Bingham. Twenty five (25) volunteers showed up including Bob Higgins, Somerset County Emergency Management Director. Mr. Higgins commented that “this turnout is terrific and demonstrates people will respond in time of a disaster”.

The Bingham Fire Department and the Upper Kennebec Valley Ambulance Service participated in this exercise. The American Red Cross provided a trailer with supplies needed in a typical disaster. The supplies were brought into the gym where they were unboxed and inventoried and a shelter layout established. CERT team members previously assigned duties began to learn how they would perform their shelter tasks given the room configurations and functions to be performed.

CERT member Dan Hilton learned how to operate the kitchen equipment under the guidance of SAD 13 Food Service Manager Dee Laweryson. Mr. Hilton will be in charge of cooking and food supplies.

Tess Laweryson will operate a clearing house system, called triage, for members of the public seeking shelter. Rachel Smith will conduct entry registration and direct people to various locations of the shelter and make sure they are provided with basic necessities.

The command structure will operate under the leadership of Kenneth Smith, team leader of the Bingham CERT team. The CERT team will operate under the direction of Somerset Emergency Management Office through a nationally developed operational system called National Information Management System or NIMS.

All CERT members had to go through a formal training program covering such topics as disaster preparedness, fire safety, medical preparation to become certified in CPR and other life saving skills, light search and rescue, organizational structure, disaster psychology, and terrorism, and then received shelter management training from Paul Clark from the American Red Cross.

Under supervision of an American Red Cross Shelter Manager, they will operate the local designated Red Cross Shelter located in Valley High School. The shelter has an emergency generator that will operate the entire school in case of an emergency and was obtained through a Homeland Security grant written by Dr. Smith.

To keep at full seven member strength, the Bingham CERT is seeking additional members to help out in case of disasters. CERT training is free and can be accomplished in several ways. One of the current needs is for a person willing to become certified as a ham operator. Communications will be a very important during any disaster. For more information contact Ken Smith at 672-9214! For more information on CERT programs in your area, contact your County Emergency Management Agency or Maine Emergency Management Agency.

A special thanks to Fire Chief Scott Laweryson and the Bingham firemen and to George Tatakis and the EMTs from the Upper Kennebec Valley Ambulance Service for their participation in this shelter drill. During any disaster, these people will be performing their regular duties and responsibilities and the CERT team and American Red Cross will operate the emergency shelter.



Jeremy Damren, CERT Coordinator


Last update: 07/20/10