Minneapolis/ Community & Society
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Published on April 23, 2024
Waseca County Hailed for Exceptional Civilian Emergency Team, Inspiring Nationwide PreparednessSource: Facebook/Minnesota Department of Public Safety

When disaster strikes, it's often the speed and efficiency of the initial response that can save lives. In Waseca County, steps have been taken to ensure that the community is prepped and ready to bridge the critical time gap before professional first responders arrive on the scene. This preparation comes in the form of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), a program that trains citizens to be first on the frontline in times of crisis.

Denise Wright, emergency manager for Waseca County, has been recognized for her pivotal role in establishing a CERT program touted as one of the state's finest. Through rigorous training, the volunteers are equipped to handle a variety of emergency situations, ranging from medical emergencies to natural disasters. In an effort to expand awareness and participation, Wright took to social media with a call to action, attracting residents to join or start a CERT program in their own neighborhoods. According to a Facebook post by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, locals interested in these programs can find more details and insights in their latest blog entry.

This initiative isn't just about having a team of trained volunteers on standby; it's about fostering a sense of community and preparedness. Wright's work has not gone unnoticed; her efforts have been a catalyst for the county's robust response system. Volunteers who join the CERT undergo an intensive training regime that covers disaster preparedness, fire safety, medical operations, and search and rescue. Wright highlighted, in an interview with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the importance of empowering citizens with the knowledge and skills to protect their homes and loved ones until professional help arrives.

The CERT program in Waseca County serves as an exemplary model for citizen-preparedness initiatives across the state—and possibly, the nation. The hope is that more communities will follow suit, recognizing the importance of a coordinated civilian response team as a critical adjunct to existing emergency services. Those keen to contribute to their community's safety have been advised to check out the blog linked in the department’s Facebook post, which not only hails the success of Waseca County's CERT program but provides practical guidance for starting a program in other locales.