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For more information about Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)

Civil Defense

Basic Idea
Practical Tips
Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)
Reference Links

Basic Idea
Be prepared for a weeks disruption of basic services.  General disruptions could be caused by storms downing power lines, water main break, etc. Those prone to special circumstance such as flooding [see ESRI/FEMA map] should make preparations before such events occur. Local officials have contingency plans for extradionary events such as industrial accidents, terrorist actions, etc.

The tragic events of September 11, 2001 have made us all very aware of the necessity for adequate emergency response capabilities. Police and Fire Departments are ready to serve and protect the residents, businesses, and visitors.

The region has a well thought out emergency management plan coordinated jointly by the  local Police and Fire Departments. The  Department of Health, the Volunteer Ambulance Corp., the Department of Public Works, and other agencies are involved and deploy staff and equipment as necessary.

Because most emergencies typically involve more than one town, the County of Bergen is responsible for coordinating responses to crises. The Bergen County Emergency Management telephone number is 201-599-6210. The County of Bergen, State of New Jersey (State Police), and the FBI issue emergency response orders and are in contact with the local Police and Fire Departments.  ######

Practical Tips

Officials stress the fact that the odds are strong that an act of terrorism will not occur in this area. However, since many of our residents work outside of town, taking the time to plan for an emergency allows us to remain more calm and in control.

After a review of emergency response material, the here are some suggestions for preparing for a general emergency - including a terrorist attack - hit close to home:

  1. If you are at home please stay there. Treat the situation seriously, but do not panic. Better communication can take place when you and your neighbors stay calm.
  2. You should have a reliable flashlight, candles, a portable radio or television with extra batteries in your home.
  3. Depending on your personal level of comfort, you may want your pantry stocked with enough food for a week. Also, you may want to keep a supply of bottled water and other essentials such as medicines, personal hygiene items, extra blankets, empty garbage cans and bags on hand. Many residents have pets and extra pet food and a leash should be part of their planning.
  4. While at home, residents should stay current with news updates through AM/FM radio or television. The State and Federal governments use these media outlets to communicate with the public.
  5. Devise a family and friends contact system so that unnecessary strain isn't placed on communications lines. Contact one or two people outside of our region to spread the word to the rest of your circle of family and friends as to your condition.
  6. Have a "meeting place" in another town or area where your family can go to in case family members are separated.
  7. This is a good time to meet or renew acquaintances with your neighbors. Don't wait until an emergency to exchange phone numbers - get to know the people that live around you.
  8. Remember that electric and phone service may be interrupted.
  9. You may want to ensure that your vehicles are refueled on a regular basis -- maintaining at least a half a tank of gas at all times.
  10. Try to carry cash in lower denominations to allow for quick purchases. In a situation with communications failure, no store can process credit card/ATM transactions because these require phone lines. Remember that if communications are out,  banks and ATM's may be closed as well.

The above tips are useful and the basic steps to prepare for an emergency. Other steps may be needed, depending upon the situation. Please heed the directions of Federal, State, and Local Emergency personnel in the event of an emergency.

Red Cross Checklist for Y2K
Individual and Family Preparedness Y2K -- What2Do (PDF)
Family Preparedness Checklist (Y2K)

Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)

Following a major disaster, first responders who provide fire and medical services will not be able to meet the demand for these services. Factors as number of victims, communication failures, and road blockages will prevent people from accessing emergency services they have come to expect at a moment's notice through 911. People will have to rely on each other for help in order to meet their immediate life saving and life sustaining needs.

CERT is about readiness, people helping people, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number. CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens will be initially on their own and their actions can make a difference. Through training, citizens can manage utilities and put out small fires; treat the three killers by opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating for shock; provide basic medical aid; search for and rescue victims safely; and organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be  effective.

The CERT training for community groups is usually delivered in 2 1/2 hour sessions, one evening a week over a 7 week period.

During each session participants are required to bring safety equipment (gloves, goggles, mask) and disaster supplies (bandages, flashlight, dressings) which will be used during the session. By doing this for each session, participants are building a disaster response kit of items that they will need during a disaster.

For more information about Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)

Reference Links


New Jersey State Police
Federal Emergency Management Agency
National Weather Service
National Weather Service Mt. Holly Office
National Weather Service Upton New York Office
American Red Cross
Salvation Army
Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
Institute for Business and Home Safety
National Flood Insurance Program
Natural Hazards Observer
National Emergency Management Association
CBS News Disaster Links
NJ Emergency Management Association
NJ Emergency Preparedness Association

Center for Disease Control
CDC - Bioterrorism Preparedness & Response
Public Service Gas & Electric
United Water
Passaic Valley Water Commission

Nuclear Waste Route Maps

Bergen County
Bergen County Office of Emergency Management
Disaster Information

State of New Jersey Security Links
Key Issue: Security
NJ Office of Emergency Management
Domestic Security Preparedness Task Force

Family Assistance Center
Project Phoenix

Federal Links

Department of Homeland Security
National Homeland Security Knowledgebase "The definitive homeland security information resource".
Homeland Security Actions
Federal Emergency Management Agency
ESRI/FEMA Hazard Awareness Site ... FEMA and ESRI have formed a National Partnership in part aimed at providing multi-hazard maps and information to US residents, business owners, schools ...

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