Winchester-Frederick CERT graduation

June 22, 2011  //  

The City of  Winchester and Frederick County Departments of Emergency Management under the oversight of the Local Emergency Planning Committee/Citizens Corps Council (LEPC/CCC) continues to support and encourage volunteer participation in the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program as a joint project of the two jurisdictions. A CERT Basic Training program was initiated on May 17, 2011 and was completed on June 21, 2011. The class began with ten (10) participants and graduated eight (8) with the completion of the practical exercise conducted on the evening of June 21st.

The CERT program that began on the west coast during the 1980s is an all volunteer program sponsored by localities and encourages citizens within the community to step forward and become trained to support emergency responders within the communities during times of major disasters and/or to assist with various community based events. Since the inception of CERT program within Winchester and Frederick County more than seventy-five individuals have participated in the CERT training and currently forty-eight (48) remain active in the program. Fortunately the community has not experienced any major disasters in recent years where the activation of the CERT membership was required. However, CERT members have assisted with various events such as the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival, 4th of July Fireworks Celebration, First Night Winchester and Community Safety Fairs.

In order to become a CERT member volunteers participate in forty (40) hours of training in subject materials including but not limited to Light Search and Rescue, CERT Organization, Disaster Psychology, National Incident Management System (NIMS)- 700, First Aid, Fire Safety, concluding with a combination of Full Scale and Functional Exercises where the participants have the opportunity to utilize their skills.

Participants of the most recent CERT Basic Training Class combined with  eight (8) existing CERT members converged on a scene on the hot and humid evening of June 21st to put their new found skills to work. They performed search and rescue, light extrication, first aid, incident command and organizational operations during the evening.

Congratulations go out to Janice Atkinson, Larry Atkinson, Maria Diaz, Vanessa Furman, Rebecca Lauck, Bonnie Muth, Donald Price and Drew Collinson for their  participation. We welcome them as members of the Winchester Frederick CERT program and look forward to their future participation.

Additional information relating to the Winchester Frederick CERT program may be found on the CERT webpage that can be accessed through or by calling 540-545-4721.

Be ready. Be willing to help.

Virginia Disaster Relief Fund