PRINCETON – In collaboration with the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM) and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP), the American Red Cross has trained 367 Citizen Corps members with sheltering skills. This exceeds the state’s goal to train 120 members to help increase the capacity to respond to large-scale disasters.
The state sought to train Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) members how to open and operate emergency shelters; specifically 100 shelter workers, 10 supervisors and 10 shelter managers. The Red Cross has trained 367 members during the last 18 months, including 297 shelter workers, 54 supervisors and 16 shelter managers, many of whom were trained and worked at Red Cross and independent shelters throughout New Jersey during Superstorm Sandy.
“The Red Cross is pleased to work together with our State partners, whose strategy to achieve overall preparedness is based on a teamwork, partnership and collaboration approach,” said Mathieu Nelessen, regional CEO, American Red Cross North Jersey Region.
The Citizen Corps/CERT initiative is a key component of the State’s community preparedness and participation initiative. Citizen Corps provides opportunity for citizen volunteers to become active and involved in homeland security and emergency management activities. CERT members give critical support to first responders in emergencies, provide immediate assistance to victims, organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site, and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.
To support future training activities and functional exercises, the State has supplied the Red Cross with two trailers stocked with equipment including wheelchairs, nurse’s kits, iPads, folding tables and chairs. These trailers will also be used to support shelter operations in New Jersey during times of disaster.
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