Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

October 28, 2016
Contact: Kathy Galione 845-708-7307


Disaster Psychology and Light Search and Rescue

NEW CITY, NY -- County Executive Ed Day today announced two free trainings provided by the Rockland Community Emergency Response Team.

The program, presented by the Rockland County Office of Fire and Emergency Services and the Rockland County Youth Bureau, is designed to provide basic training in disaster preparedness for residents, which increases the ability of citizens to manage an extreme situation until first responders or other assistance arrives.

Two upcoming disaster preparedness classes are offered free of charge:

• Disaster Psychology - Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at 6 p.m.
• Light Search and Rescue - Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 7 p.m.
Both classes are available to people at least 14 years old who live or work in Rockland County.

Classes are held at the Fire Training Center, 35 Firemen's Memorial Drive, Pomona.

"Our residents who volunteer their time to become RCERT members are a true asset to our community," said County Executive Day. "We are proud to continue this important program and train our people to step up and support their neighbors when needed most." 

Disaster Psychology will be taught by Sonia Wagner, Executive Vice President of the Mental Health Association of Rockland. The class will explore and discuss the psychological impact of a disaster on rescuers and survivors and how to provide "psychological first aid." We will also talk about the steps one can take individually and as part of a CERT before, immediately following, and after a disaster.

Light Search and Rescue will cover three primary areas: 1) How to size up the situation in which the search and rescue teams will operate, 2) how to systematically search for disaster survivors and 3) safe techniques for lifting, leveraging, cribbing, and survivor removal.

RCERT educates youth and adult volunteers 14 years and older about basic disaster preparedness skills that will enable them to be better prepared for themselves, their families and their neighbors in the times of crisis or disaster. Additionally, in times of emergency, RCERT volunteers can support and extend the services of first responders by freeing them to attend to more specialized calls. Students will be trained to provide services such as supply distribution, fire safety, damage assessment, shelter assembly, neighbor well-checks, light search and rescue and disaster medical operations.

In non-crisis times, volunteers will educate the community about disaster preparedness through coordination of public education campaigns and events.

Classes are offered as part of the RCERT curriculum, and are available to those who wish to complete the entire course, or for those who would like to take only classes of interest. The full RCERT curriculum is a 25 to 30 hour FEMA-based training module comprised of eight classes, and completed over a course of approximately 8 months to one year. Fully-trained RCERT members graduate with a certificate of completion and become eligible for deployment and additional training. Certified members volunteer up to 10 hours per month.

RCERT offers training in basic disaster response skills, including as fire safety, team organization and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, RCERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. RCERT members are also encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

For more information, reach out via e-mail or by calling (845) 708-7307.