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Advanced training comes to CERT

Advanced search techniques will be taught when Community Emergency Response Team members from throughout the state coming to next month’s conference. (File photo)

Of the Keizertimes

Want to take your emergency response skills to a higher level?

If so, the Keizer Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) has a deal for you, provided you’ve  already completed and passed its initial 8-week training course.

Keizer CERT is sponsoring a two-day conference, Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 18-19, at Camp Cascade Conference and Retreat Center in Lyons.

Camp Cascade is home to spacious cabins, baked delicacies, beautiful scenery and the Santiam River.

What’s more, the conference is free. With registration fees paid for by a grant from Homeland Security.

“It’s a sweet deal for the folks,” said Greg Biben of the Keizer Fire District. “This conference is for those folks who have taken CERT in Keizer, or for anyone else who has completed the CERT program in Oregon.”

Instructors will take their students to a higher level when it comes to triage, primary and secondary assessments, master splinting and treatment area management. The conference concludes with a practice drill.

“It will be a simulation of a disaster with all the CERT members and 20 volunteer ‘actors’ as victims,” said Stephanie Cooke, Keizer CERT coordinator and organizer of this event. “This will be a unique drill considering the environment and I cannot reveal more than that until after the simulation.”

“CERT members will be reinforcing a lot of skills they already have,” said Biben. “We’ll have enough time and we’ll be in an environment where we can provide more one-on-one time with folks … We’ll be able to take triage, for example, to a higher level because all of these folks have already been introduced to triage. So now they can actually practice it and work on sharpening their skills.”

Registration is being accepted online at

Initially, Keizer CERT fell under the umbrella of the Keizer Fire District. But has recently taken steps to become its own federally-recognized non-profit organization.

This move, when finalized, will allow the program to continue to broaden the scope of its service to the community.

In related matters:

• Biben said there are currently 148 members actively involved in Keizer CERT.

He added Keizer is split into 19 different sectors, with each sector having its own team leader.

• New CERT members are being recruited. Training lasts eight weeks and begins Thursday, Sept. 3.

The class is limited to 20 people.

Cost is $60 per person. The Homeland Security grant pays for some of training-related costs.