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Polk CERT Volunteers Assist Local Community

Published on Jun 3, 2021

If you’ve been to one of the many COVID vaccination sites, you probably noticed groups of volunteers with bright green vests helping you through the process.

On their back, in bright yellow lettering, it reads: CERT, which is short for Community Emergency Response Team.

You may not have realized it at the time, but Polk’s CERT volunteers are vital in helping coordinate emergency response, not only with vaccinations, but with hurricanes, tropical storms, tornadoes and other emergencies. And they are all trained volunteers.

The Community Emergency Response Team program educates residents about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area. But CERT doesn't stop there. It also trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations.

Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. The team members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.

For more information on how to become a CERT volunteer, email, or call (863) 534-CERT.