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February 22. 2013 11:05PM

Nashua offers disaster training

NASHUA - For the first time ever, the Nashua Office of Emergency Management is offering free volunteer training to anyone interested in participating in the new Community Emergency Response Team, Mayor Donnalee Lozeau said.

"A prepared citizenry is the most valuable asset the government has in dealing with an emergency," said Lozeau. "I encourage residents to participate in this opportunity."

Two upcoming courses have been scheduled and 20 people have already signed up, said Emily Martuscello, an EMT and intern with the city's Office of Emergency Management. She is hopeful that each class will be filled to its capacity of 25 participants.

"If a catastrophic event happened, we need a lot of community members who are trained with basic skills to assist," said Martuscello. "Preparedness is everyone's responsibility, and Nashua residents seem willing to learn and be prepared. We have had a great response from the members of the community already."

Throughout the free emergency preparedness training, participants will learn how to provide basic medical aid, search for and rescue victims safely, manage utilities, put out small fires, and prepare for natural or man-made disasters.

The Community Emergency Response Team program is an all-risk, all-hazard training, according to a release. Participants will receive national certification as a CERT member upon completion. The course will cover terrorism awareness, an introduction to incident command, and hands-on teaching by emergency management experts, according to the release issued by Justin Kates, the city's emergency management director.

Local government prepares for everyday emergencies, said Kates. However, during a disaster, the number and scope of incidents can overwhelm conventional emergency services, he explained. The CERT program allows members of the community to have a better understanding of what to do in an emergency, said Martuscello.

Participants will learn how to check on neighbors when the electricity goes out, how to handle downed power lines, what to do in a search and rescue incident before police or fire crews arrive, and how to properly calm an injured individual before first responders are on the scene, she said.

"We are not teaching people how to become a paramedic or firefighter, but we are teaching them basic skills to handle stressful situations before first responders arrive," she added.

One class will take place every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m., March 21 to April 30, at Daniel Webster College, in addition to one class on Saturday, May 4, from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The second class is scheduled from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. on April 20, April 27 and May 4 at the Lake Street Fire Station.

To sign up for either course, visit www.nashuanh.gov/EMvolunteer, or call 589-3260. More classes will be scheduled in the future, and a waiting list will be formed if necessary.


khoughton@newstote.com


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