Washington County, Tenn., to hold CERT program in March

Washington County, Tenn., Sheriff Ed Graybeal recently announced that the region will be hold a Community Emergency Response Team course in early March to empower the community through emergency response training.

The CERT program was established several years ago and has already successfully trained and given certifications to more than 100 Washington County community members. Graybeal said the program will make a return to the community next month in time to prepare the community for natural disasters that strike in the spring, Johnson City Press reports.

"It educates people about disasters and preparedness, hazards that will impact our area," Graybeal said, according to Johnson City Press. "We wanted to do it this time of year simply because the seasons are changing and we've already had some tornadoes in the lower part of the state."

The training will be jointly hosted through the sheriff's office and the Washington County Emergency Management Agency. EMA Director Nes Levotch urged residents to sign up for the classes to make the community more independent in the face of an emergency.

"We want to give the community some preparedness on how to handle situations and what to do if you have someone trapped, or if you have someone in a house you need to get out," Graybeal said, Johnson City Press reports. "When they're there helping us, they'll know what to do."

Levotch said the county's goal is to develop a dependable group of CERT graduates who are ready to respond in the event of an emergency and can act as backup for professional responders.

The training will begin March 6th in the training room of the sheriff's office and is free for all participants.