Upper Saddle River looks to add Community Emergency Response Team

The Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, community recently lobbied its City Council to establish a Community Emergency Response Team to oversee and improve preparedness and emergency response.

Borough Police Officer Vincent Siracuse presented a CERT plan to the council on Feb. 6, according to NorthJersey.com.

"The role of the CERT volunteer is to help others until trained emergency personnel arrive," Siracusa said, according to NorthJersey.com. "CERT is a fiscally responsible means of assisting emergency service personnel in time of need."

Mayor Joanne Minichetti liked the idea, but wanted to make sure emergency workers would not be pulled from their current work, NorthJersey.com reported.

Siracusa said the response team would consist of volunteers and more professional first responders. Start-up costs are estimated to be $2,500 for training material and safety equipment, with an annual cost of $1,000 for continued training and equipment maintenance. The expense would vary based on the number of volunteers, according to NorthJersey.com.

Siracusa said the group would coordinate with the Department of Public Works to share services internally and "get the biggest bang for our buck."

The CERT team would assist emergency responders in extinguishing small fires, setting up medical treatment, light search and rescue and anticipating hazards.

The police chief said CERT would be called in the event of storms or traffic instead of the fire department, which should be on fire calls, NorthJersey.com reported.

Siracusa said the CERT program manager should be approved by the city council, and the team would report to the Office of Emergency Management, according to NorthJersey.com.