Prepared for Emergencies? CERTainly!

Wendi Strom and Mary Janssen are the City Councilors who represent Ward 5 of the City of Lakewood, which includes Southern Gables and the surrounding area. They hold monthly meetings on topics of interest to residents. (You can see the schedule and topics on our “Events” page.) This past week the speakers were Lakewood’s Emergency Manager and a guest discussing the electrical grid and its susceptibility to nuclear attack and other dangers. These big topics seem overwhelming. Looking at it in a “local” context, which is where we are, what can we do?  Electromagnetic pulses are not the only hazards that can happen…

… so what else? It’s pretty obvious, though we don’t like to talk about it. Fires, for example. Widespread fires like those that happen in wooded areas up in the mountains. Not here, right? That’s what we thought until the Marshall Fire showed us otherwise. Tornadoes, severe hail, high winds… we have seen them all, nearby if not at your exact address yet. But we live in a safe, stable neighborhood, right? What could go wrong? As Ken Fischer pointed out in his article back in 2020 on Emergency Preparedness (read it after you’re done here) “Oh, how many sad stories begin with that question, ‘What could go wrong?'”

A corollary to realizing that things can go wrong is realizing that we can do something to be prepared. As part of the discussion on this point at the Ward 5 meeting, Declan Costelloe stood up and gave a pitch for the training he conducts for the City on qualifying to join CERT – the Community Emergence Response Team. The following is taken from the materials he brought to the meeting.

What: Community Emergency Response Training teaches participants how to plan for an emergency and trains them in basic disaster response skills, including fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, emergency/disaster medical operations, disaster psychology and terrorism awareness.

Why: The purpose of this training is to prepare individuals to be able to help themselves and their neighbors in a situation where first responders are not immediately available during a large-scale emergency/disaster. The training also helps to reduce the impact of disasters by teaching participants to recognize danger signs and promotes greater safety awareness.

Who: This training is open to all individuals age 16 and over. Those who successfully complete the free course will be invited to participate with the Lakewood CERT program that will include ongoing training and Lakewood CERT Team participation. Individuals who have taken a CERT class in the past are welcome to attend so as to refresh their training.

The training is conducted on three Saturdays, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at Green Mountain Rec Center. This is something to take advantage of RIGHT NOW. The next series begins Saturday, August 20 and will go on August 27, skip Labor Day, and conclude September 10.

In a 2017 interview, Mr. Costelloe pointed out that the advantages of a CERT program included a self-care emphasis, for citizens being prepared to take care of themselves and their family.1 This adds a broader dimension to what you might expect to be the function of CERT, responding to a large-scale disaster or mass casualty event. It brings it home.

You can register for the CERT training course – it’s free – by clicking here or contact Declan Costelloe at [email protected] or 303-886-9133 for additional information.

I’ll go. See you there? That’s Saturday, August 20. Coming up soon!

  1. Interview, Feb 6 2017, in “Needs Analysis of a CERT at WMFR

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