CERT Heads to the Gulf

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September 8, 2005
Columbia County’s Emergency Response Team will head to Mississippi Friday morning. They are trained in search and rescue, fighting fires, medical aid and disaster counseling.

Margaret Williams is getting her stuff together as she gets ready to head to Mississippi. Things on the packing list are a towel, boots, a sleeping bag, pillow, bug repellent, and shampoo that doesn’t need water.

“You put it in your hair and wash your hair and towel dry it,” Williams said.

She also has a tool that can turn off gas lines to prevent fires. A multi-purpose knife is another tool they get. It has everything from a saw to a can opener, a screwdriver, and two blades. And it even becomes a pair of pliers.

Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker says it’s a great group.

“We’ve got individuals and groups of people who want to help,” Tucker said.

The CERT team went through hazmat training in July. They faced a scenario where a school bus crashed into a meth lab. This gave them practice dealing with triage and hazardous materials. Margaret Williams was one of the CERT members there. She graduated and is getting ready for her trip.

This is the first time the Columbia County CERT team will deal with a real emergency. CERT gets all of their funding from the Office of Homeland Security. President Bush approved this funding after 9/11 so citizens could help out in emergencies.