CERT officials to train responders in southwest Illinois

Officials with a St. Clair County, Illinois-based Community Emergency Response Team will conduct several free disaster preparedness training sessions in May in Belleville.

The first responders will train residents on how to help victims in the event of a disaster. Training local citizens can improve a community's preparedness when professional emergency responders are delayed or overwhelmed, bnd.com reports.

The class will cover terrorism response, fire safety, light search and rescue, disaster psychology and medical assistance.

The sessions will take place from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on May 9, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 10, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on May 16 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 17 at the Garden Heights Baptist Church in Belleville.

Anyone above the age of 12 may apply, bnd.com reports.

The St. Clair County Emergency Management Agency is responsible for the disaster preparedness of the county's unincorporated areas. The EMA's goal is to improve emergency response and awareness in the community.

The EMA continually updates its emergency operations plan, a guideline for how the St. Clair County government will protect its residents and property in the event of a disaster.

The EMA trains residents to form CERTs to better prepare neighborhoods and workplaces for hazards.