“Telling the Stories of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community”

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“Telling the Stories of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community”

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June 20, 2024

Community Emergency Response Team Hosts Public Meeting in Lehi

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As the 2024 monsoon season approaches with the hot Arizona summer already in full swing, the Salt River Community Emergency Response Team (SR-CERT) hosted a public meeting at Lehi Fire and Police Substation 292 on June 6 to provide updates to members of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

The SR-CERT is composed of SRPMIC members, staff, Enterprise employees and tribal government staff. Presently there are 47 credentialed members on the SR-CERT who can be deployed throughout the Community to assist during an emergency. At this time SR-CERT is actively recruiting additional members for the team.

Over the past few years, members of the SR-CERT have been on hand assisting and providing support to the Community during many different events. During the COVID-19 pandemic, SR-CERT staff assisted with the vaccination clinics, point of dispensing (POD) support for traffic, meeting with the Community during public outreach events, and more.

“We’ve decided to host this meeting in person. We wanted to bring the membership back together and give an update on where we’re at with the CERT program,” said Emergency Management Coordinator Terry Nelson. Also in attendance were Charles Kmet, emergency manager; Joseph Urrea, emergency management coordinator; and Kirsten VanDeventer, emergency management coordinator.

Extreme heat, fire, floods, landslides, nuclear emergencies and severe thunderstorms are some of the situations for which the SR-CERT provides training. Though some emergencies may not necessarily be applicable to Arizona, the goal of the SR-CERT is to have all of its team members fully prepared for any emergency that may happen in the Community.

“This is our goal, to get our team to these levels,” said Urrea as he detailed the in-person and online training courses that are required for team members on the SR-CERT.

This summer’s heat and monsoon season will bring rainfall, high winds and extremely hot temperatures. As a result, SR-CERT will be setting up cooling centers within the Community for those who need a moment away from the high temperatures outside.

“Cooling centers is another way in which SR-CERT will be able to provide assistance and support,” added Urrea. “Individuals may get asked to provide assistance at our cooling centers in the Community when they are activated.”

During the public meeting, attendees asked Nelson if the SR-CERT offers behavioral health and or de-escalation training. While it does not offer those courses, because of the feedback from the group, SR-CERT acknowledged the importance of that kind of training and will conduct additional research to possibly implement it in the near future. Additionally, there has been a need in the state of Arizona for CERT at the teenage level. Presently, the SR-CERT is conducting additional research to be able to implement CERT resources at the teen level in the Community.

“We want to get people credentialed and trained. We want to get those leaders identified,” said Nelson. “We’re working within our own budgets to make sure we can put on classes every year. We write grants too. We try to give our membership resources to take care of themselves, their families and the Community,” Nelson stated.

If you or someone you know may be interested in joining the SR-CERT, contact Terry Nelson at (480) 362-7929 or terry.nelson@srpmic-nsn.gov.