Cy-Fair CERT members reach out to neighbors
Imagine my surprise last week when I ran across members of our Cy-Fair Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) at a meeting I was covering in the Heights near downtown!
A core group of Heights area residents are in the beginning stages of creating their own Community Emergency Response Team, and the Cy-Fair CERT members were there to help them work through details and to give advice.
They speak from experience. The Cy-Fair CERT is up to 200 members in about five years, and has several teams under the group's larger umbrella.
Those teams are associated with commercial areas and subdivisions, including Autumn Run, Bear Creek, Coles Crossing, The Colonies, various Copperfield neighborhoods, Fairfield, Hearthstone, Mossy Oaks, Northmead, Stone Creek, Villages at Lake Pointe, Westcreek and Yaupon Ranch.
Resident-led CERT teams are trained to help out in their neighborhoods in the event of an emergency or disaster, when emergency personnel experience delays in getting to certain areas. They do not replace first responders, though.
The CERT program falls under the umbrella of the Harris County Citizen Corps, a joint program of the county, the city of Houston, law enforcement agencies, and charities like the American Red Cross. The Citizen Corps was launched after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to offer opportunities to residents to make their neighborhoods safer by providing them the tools and training needed for preventing and handling threats of terrorism, crime, and all types of disasters.
We started with a bare-bones organization a President, Vice President, and three committees," said Martin Samson, a Cy-Fair CERT member who was at the meeting in the Heights.
Samson said the procurement committee sought donations; the planning committee developed an emergency response manual that helps guide volunteers' actions in emergency situations and set priorities for the team; and a communications committee worked to spread the word about the new Cy-Fair CERT. The team grew steadily from there.
The Cy-Fair CERT meets once a month and also offers classes and CERT training courses throughout the year. I highly recommend getting involved with this impressive group!
For more information about go to www.cyfaircert.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org