CERT was created in 2005, mainly in response to 9/11. The Federal government authorized the funding of CERT to support citizen emergency response efforts to manmade or natural disasters. The training CERT provides in general first aid, weather safety, light search and rescue, and fire safety increases the ability of citizens to survive until responders or other assistance arrives.
Alderman Becky Stout has been involved with CERT since 2005. She serves as cocoordinator and team leader. Her personal experience of being at the scene of her nephew’s tragic car accident and feeling unequipped to help, led her to take a lead in the formation of West Chicago CERT. She wanted to be able to give back by creating a trained community team for emergency response support.
West Chicago has trained over 200 community members in the practices and guidelines of CERT as established by FEMA. One of the primary functions of West Chicago’s CERT team is to respond to large fire scenes in which it assists with the rehydration and cooling of firefighters. CERT members were deployed to the scene of the Aspen Ridge and Timber Lakes Apartment fires. Members have assisted in search and rescue recovery in a drowning incident, and have helped with traffic control when necessary.
West Chicago often utilizes its CERT members to assist at local festivals and events. They are on hand to provide hydration therapy and first aid to attendees and participants. Brian and Kurt Freund, life-long residents of West Chicago, have been long-standing members of the CERT team. They are familiar faces, attending many community events where they often recruit new members. Brian is one of the CERT team leaders and a certified trainer of the CERT program.
Those wishing to get involved with the next training course should contact the West Chicago Police Department staff at (630) 293-2222.