Training offers preparedness in an emergency

REED CITY — In April, some residents in Osceola County and beyond were caught off-guard by a storm that caused excessive damage and displacement from high winds and flooding.

To help storm and flood victims avoid a similar situation next time a disaster strikes, members of Osceola County Emergency Management and the Community Emergency Response Team are providing a free preparedness class and volunteer training program.

"To know exactly what is expected of citizens and how they should receive public information during disaster time, training is paramount," said CERT team leader Tom Crandell. "It never ceases to amaze us how many people in our county don't know what to do during emergencies."

The program will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 6, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 7, and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 8, at the Osceola County Emergency Management office, 8325 220th Ave. in Reed City. Residents do not have to be from Osceola County to participate, but the program is for those at least 18 years old.

Through lectures and hands-on training, the program will focus on numerous points, including search and rescue, basic first aid, fire suppression, how to prepare one's home and oneself, radio communications, storm damage assessment, event traffic control and security, animal rescue and more. It will conclude with a mock disaster exercise and each participant that completes the program will receive a certificate.

Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Weber said volunteers with a variety of skills are needed. Everyone has some talent they can contribute.

"The whole idea of preparedness training is about why you ought to listen to people from emergency management," Weber said. "We have tasks for people with every skill set."

Weber and Crandell believe the program will help attendees build confidence during a disaster and camaraderie with other team members. In addition, it is a good way to give back to the community in a unique way, they added.

"Participants will come out of the training with a lot of good information to prepare their families," Crandell said. "I hope we get a good group of people who are interested."

For more information, call (231) 832-6172.