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Militia questions CERT program

Golden Triangle Militia Commander David Smith questioned the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) meetings during the Monday afternoon Commissioners Court meeting.

“They have cancelled meetings two months in a row,” Smith said. “Not good if they are trying to get citizens involved.”

Smith said the militia group would like to be a part of CERT.

“We would like to be embedded into CERT,” Smith said. “To be a part of a program that is already up and running.”

Smith said the group wants to be more organized and should already be part of the Orange County Emergency Management planning.

“We want to foster cooperation with volunteer groups with programs such as this,” Smith said.

The Orange County CERT is comprised of volunteer citizen teams, who are trained in basic life safety and emergency preparedness skills. The program is community based, in order to provide rapid and safe care for residents in the event of a major incident or large-scale disaster.

As of 2011, over 100 individuals have completed the CERT Basic Training Course since the program started in 2005. CERT has responded to three actual emergencies. The types of emergencies are hurricane/ coastal storm and winter storm according to www.citizencorps.fema.gov

“All citizens can volunteer for CERT,” Orange County Judge Stephen Brint Carlton said in an email.

Orange County Emergency Management Coordinator Ryan Peabody said the last two meetings were cancelled due to a scheduling conflict for Orange County CERT Coordinator Robert Woodard and the assistant, Glenn Dutton, unavailable due to medical reasons.

“CERT is happy to have all citizens fill out the paperwork and become a member,” Peabody said.

Residents may obtain an application from Woodard, which also requires a background check.

“Once the application has been approved, there are certain classes and certifications required,” Peabody said.

CERT members are volunteers, without monetary compensation.