CERT Filling the gap

Marshall County CERT holds first fundraiser

Gloomy weather didn’t keep members of the public from coming to the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office for a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) fundraiser Saturday morning. Along with information on CERT, guests enjoyed fresh pork burgers and got a close-up look at equipment used by the organization.

Gloomy weather didn’t keep members of the public from coming to the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office for a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) fundraiser Saturday morning. Along with information on CERT, guests enjoyed fresh pork burgers and got a close-up look at equipment used by the organization.

When an emergency happens and every second counts, responders can sometimes use a helping hand; that’s when the Marshall County Community Emergency Response Team comes into play.

“The CERT fills in the gap between the responders and the citizens,” said CERT and Marshall County Emergency Management Coordinator Kim Elder. “We can free up law enforcement to do their job, we can direct traffic; if it’s EMS and they need hands to carry victims, we can do that.”

The organization, which was certified as a 501(c)3 in the spring, also conducts search-and-rescue operations and holds trainings.

Saturday’s fundraiser at the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office offered guests a chance to learn more about CERT and how to volunteer. A search-and-rescue boat was on display, and guests enjoyed Marshall County Pork Producers burgers.

“We have a class coming up Dec. 2 and 3, anybody of age (18 or older) can take the class,” said CERT President Dorothy Johnsen. “If they choose to join the team, we have a meeting Dec. 7.”

She said there are currently 22 people signed up for the training, and the session can hold a total of 35-40 people.

“If you take the training, you do not have to join the team,” Elder said, adding those who participate can take the knowledge with them to their family or workplace.

Funds raised at Saturday’s event will go toward supplies for volunteers.

“We’re trying to get more members and more classes, and to get more CERT coats, just supplies that we really need for when we go out for training or searching,” Johnsen said, adding other needed items include gloves, hats, flashlight batteries and more. “We have good community backing.”

Along with Pork Producers, Sam’s Club, Martin Bros. Distributing Co., Sara Lee Bread and other organizations and businesses helped with the fundraiser.

Elder said CERT is still relatively new in Marshall County, having been established about six years ago.

“Not too many counties in Iowa have CERT teams, so we’re gradually building and learning where we’re needed and what we can do,” she said.

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com