Teaneck Explores Volunteer Emergency Team
Volunteer group could help in disasters and emergency preparedness efforts. Township officials were in the early stages of gathering information on the idea.
The Township Council on Tuesday is set to discuss the possibility of forming a volunteer emergency response team that could aid Teaneck in major disasters.
The group, called a Community Emergency Response Team, is a widely-used federal program designed to offer basic training for volunteers to prepare and help respond to various incidents.
"CERT members give critical support to first responders in emergencies, provide immediate assistance to victims, organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts," according to the state's Office of Emergency Management.
The free CERT training is typically about 20 hours, in two to four hour blocks over weeks or months, according to the state.
Councilman Yitz Stern, who works at the county's public safety academy where training is offered, proposed looking into the concept at a December council meeting and officials have been gathering more information on the idea.
The volunteer team is not designed to replace professional police, fire and medical responders. CERT members in Mahwah have aided in gathering data after flood waters devastated nearby communities, while the Little Ferry CERT was recently honored for its help during Superstorm Sandy.
Township residents have called for new methods of emergency communication after Superstorm Sandy left most of town without power for days. The town's community policing squad has held emergency seminars for the public, and the township began using social media to update residents.