By Russell Hixson
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Payne County is planning to train a group of volunteers to assist themselves, their neighbors and emergency crews in the event of a disaster like a storm, tornado or fire.
The Payne County Citizens Emergency Response Team, or CERT, volunteers will be trained to help with logistics, communications, support, clearing and guiding units from other areas.
Payne County Emergency Management Director Jeff Kuhn said the need for these services was identified during the recent fires that threatened Payne County last summer. Those who join will be trained in CPR, first aid, searches, rescues, terrorism response and other hazards. Kuhn said any person of any age can join.
“We can use anybody,” he said.
The idea behind the team is to provide training and organization to the citizens of Payne County so that they can more safely and effectively help themselves, their neighbors, their communities and their county when disasters strike, Kuhn said. It is natural for the people around the county to want to help each other. The team helps organize those efforts to be more effective.
The group’s first meeting will be Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Payne County Administration building. For more information, or if you are interested and cannot make the meeting, contact Kuhn at 405-334-7044.
Kuhn said many other cities have similar programs but interest often wanes with inactivity. He said he plans to have get-togethers, group training and fun activities for volunteers to get to know each other.