Mckinney Courier-gazette > News
Volunteer response team helps with tornado cleanup
Nine members of the McKinney Fire Department's Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT) spent Easter weekend in Lancaster assisting in recovery efforts, following the devastating tornado that struck that city April 3.
Stacie Durham, MFD public information officer, said CERT members are non-firefighters who have received training at the fire department on how to respond to emergencies.
Three hundred homes were damaged in Lancaster, including 150 that were left uninhabitable. According to information provided by the city of Lancaster, more than 2,000 structures were impacted in some way by the tornado. No deaths or serious injuries were reported.
Durham said Lancaster officials requested volunteers from the area, and the McKinney CERT was among several who volunteered last weekend to provide a variety of tasks including the removal of debris.
Durham described CERT as "a program designed to provide locally trained volunteers to respond to any major disaster or emergency if professional first responders such as police, fire or EMS personnel are not immediately available, or if recovery efforts overwhelm or deplete local resources."
She added, "The development of this nationwide volunteer program is a direct result of the events of 9/11. CERT members provide critical support to individuals in the disaster area."
She said the names of citizens who participate in CERT are not made public.
Karen Adkins, McKinney emergency management coordinator said, "McKinney has worked hard to build a strong CERT capability, to establish a network of emergency operations partners in surrounding communities and to coordinate with emergency management professionals in the Metroplex and across the state of Texas. We spend many hours preparing and training for disasters and are pleased to assist our neighbors."
"McKinney has an active and highly trained group of CERT members," said McKinney Fire Chief Danny Kistner. "These citizens voluntarily attend an eight-week training course and participate in quarterly exercises. They are always willing to do the job at hand. The activation of these volunteers provides the opportunity to put their training into use in a true disaster response."
Anyone interested in becoming involved in CERT may call the McKinney Office of Emergency Management at 972-547-2866 or go to www.mckinneyfire.org.
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