Manassas City Fire and Rescue Chief Brett Bowman and Emergency Management Coordinator Robert Halsall were present at Monday's council meeting to congratulate the newest Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) graduates and hand them their certificates.
Halsall said it was the fourth CERT class to graduate in the area and the largest with 18 graduates from Manassas Park and Manassas.
He said a total of 32 volunteers have signed up for the training classes, which includes a mock disaster exercise.
CERT teams consists of citizens trained in disaster preparedness who want to train other members of the community in disaster preparedness.
Training classes are about 6-8 weeks. CERT is considered a light rescue program and an interface to assist first emergency responders. "The training is in no way meant to replace our emergency responders, only to assist when needed," Halsall said in a recent interview.
Training for CERT volunteers consists of Emergency Preparedness, First Aid, CPR & AED, basic fire suppression, basic search and rescue techniques, basic disaster psychology, team building and a final mock disaster exercise, where members get the opportunity to practice what they have learned.
The Manassas CERT program was recently able to purchase new equipment through a federal Citizen Preparedness Grant from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. The new equipment includes triage tent kits, which are used for prioritizing patients involved in a mass casualty event.