September 1, 2005
The relief effort is intensifying in the Gulf region and some local emergency workers are gearing up to help. News 12 explains the plans for Columbia County’s Community Emergency Response Team.
“If you’re not prepared, you’re helpless, you can do anything for anybody,” said Lorraine Lynch, CERT volunteer.
So Lorraine Lynch is heading straight for the disaster zone. She is part of the 14-member Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, going to Mississippi.
“We do have a level of anxiety. I think that’s normal. Basically, what our goal is to utilize our skills and assist whatever necessary because that’s what’s needed right now,” Lynch said.
They don’t know exactly where they’re going, just somewhere in Mississippi, a place still dealing with devastation. Lynch knows it will be hard to deal with.
“I’m an emotional person and I know I’ll have to be strong, but they need us more. We can be of service to them, and that will overcome some of our emotions. It will help that we are helping,” Lynch said.
“We’re told they’re going to be working directly with the victims in the hard hit disaster area. It’s going to be dirty and uncomfortable. But they’ll make sure the victims have water and all the necessities to keep them alive,” said Pam Tucker, Director of Emergency Services.
Pam Tucker says this will be CERT’s first real test. Each member goes through weeks of training, from first-aid to search and rescue. Just last month, they were put to the test at Columbia County’s disaster drill.
“We’ve done a lot of exercises and all the training and now they really get to put those skills to good use in a very useful way to help people,” Tucker said.
Suiting up and shipping out, a band of 14 Columbia County volunteers. They’re going into the unknown, but trained for the worst.
The 14-member CERT team will leave sometime this weekend and stay in the recovery zone for five days.