MARION — The Marion Emergency Management Committee, led by Police Chief Richard Nighelli as the Emergency Management Director and Fire Chief Brian Jackvony as the Deputy Director of Emergency Management, is pleased to share that the town is forming a new Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
Marion’s CERT will be a program of the town’s Emergency Management Committee, which coordinates state, local, voluntary and private resources during emergencies and disasters that affect the town. The committee is responsible for developing plans for responding to hazards, disasters or threats; training emergency personnel to protect the public in times of disaster; providing information to residents; and assisting individuals, families, businesses and communities to mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from natural or man-made emergencies.
CERT, a nationwide volunteer program, educates individuals about disaster preparedness, specifically regarding hazards that may impact their area, and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations. CERT volunteers can assist others in their community following a disaster when professional responders are not immediately available to help.
CERT is similar to the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) of Massachusetts, which has functioned as a local emergency preparedness team often for large-scale public health crises. Marion’s Vin Malkoski had previously served as Chair of the MRC Steering Committee. CERT also includes medical responsibilities and the local MRC branch in Marion will transition into the new CERT program. Former or current MRC members will have unique experience to fit the CERT needs and are encouraged to join.
“CERT is an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in serving their community. Members of the team will gain valuable skills and knowledge in areas of emergency planning and disaster response that will allow them to help their neighbors in times of need,” Chief Nighelli said. “We are also thankful to Vin for his work with the MRC and for his assistance and involvement during the town’s transition to CERT.”
Marion’s CERT will be a group of community volunteers trained to assist and augment the Marion Police and Fire Departments during emergencies or large events. CERT may be activated for town emergencies such as severe weather, the opening of a shelter or warming site, or pandemic and other public health-related emergencies, as well as town events such as Town Meeting, town elections, parades and fireworks.
CERT members’ responsibilities may include damage assessments, distributing supplies, administrative and logistical tasks, traffic control, medical assistance and more.
“CERT volunteers are invaluable assets to first responders and fellow community members in a number of situations, both planned and unexpected,” Chief Jackvony said. “We would like to thank Vin and all of the local MRC volunteers for their dedication to safety and wellness in our community. We look forward to kicking off CERT in Marion and encourage those who are interested in joining or learning more to reach out.”
Those who may be interested in joining Marion CERT are asked to contact Chief Jackvony at [email protected] or 508-748-3596. The town hopes to establish a list of interested people and will then hold an informational meeting and collect applications.
More information about the CERT program, its functions and history can be found at ready.gov.