The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) has been reactivated by the Salt River Fire Department and SRPMIC Emergency Management program.
The CERT team comprises Community members and residents or those who work with the enterprise who are trained in different types of incident command systems. CERT members are currently integrated into the point of dispensing (POD) incident command systems that are used for providing COVID-19 testing and vaccination operations within the Community.
“We recruit for CERT membership on an annual basis. We hold our classes—it’s about 24 hours worth of information—to provide education on various aspects of CERT operations,” said SRPMIC Emergency Management Coordinator Terry Nelson.
“One of the areas that we’ve been improving within Emergency Management is to integrate CERT members into other response areas as ancillary staff within the Community. We [provide staff for] everything from shelters to points of dispensing, and we also do volunteer reception centers for any individual that wants to be trained on participating within CERT. We give them additional training to integrate into those types of operations.”
Currently, 22 members in the CERT team have received the training and certification. The training is provided to the Community in terms of information shared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the national CERT program, so the Community is a nationally recognized CERT program.
SRPMIC Emergency Management reapplied within the last two years for state Homeland Security grant funding to revive the team, which allowed them to recruit individuals within the Salt River Fire Department for training as instructors and then utilize additional funding to purchase resources to conduct the training within the Community.
The U.S. National Guard has also been available as a mission-driven force to cooperate with healthcare providers, SRPMIC Health and Human Services staff, the Salt River Fire Department, and Community members to tackle emergencies as a team.
Nelson is currently serving as the CERT program manager and can be reached for CERT training information at (480) 567-4475; or, you can reach out to the Salt River Fire Department as well. Up next for those who are interested in joining the CERT team: in-classroom training this summer between June and July.