Iowa CERT program graduates 17 trainees

The state of Iowa's Woodbury County Disaster and Emergency Services agency honored 17 graduates on Tuesday from the county's Community Emergency Response Team training program.

The county's disaster unit recognized the graduates on Tuesday at the Security Institute at Western Iowa Tech Community College. The class of graduates marks the 11th year Woodbury County secured funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for training through the Sioux City Police Department, reports.

According to FEMA, Woodbury County implements its CERT program in a six-week course that meets one evening per week. The program is meant to teach members to care for themselves and their family members during an emergency event while also making themselves available to help in planned events and emergencies.

Since 2011, the Woodbury County CERT responded to one actual emergency during a winter storm. During the emergency, the CERT distributed information to the public and engaged in registration, traffic flow and family management.

The CERT concept was initially developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department in 1985. FEMA supports CERT programs by conducting or sponsoring courses for members of the medical, fire and emergency management community.

The training allows citizens to put out small files, manage utilities, control bleeding, provide basic medical aid, treat for shock, open airways, organize themselves and volunteers and search for and rescue victims safely.