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The Downey Fire Department will begins its next round of CERT training for local residents April 6.
CERT, which stands for Community Emergency Response Team, is a free program in which residents ages 18 and older are trained to respond in the event of a neighborhood disaster.
Residents are trained in disaster preparedness, fire suppression, medical operations, damage assessment, light search and rescue, team organization, disaster psychology and disaster simulation.
After they are trained, CERT members may be called upon to assess damage after a disaster, extinguish small fires and teach fire safety, perform triage and provide medical services to the injured, gather supplies, and more.
"There is a very good chance that your neighborhood will be on its own during the early stages following a catastrophic disaster," Downey fire officials said. "After a catastrophic disaster, citizens will volunteer to help. Without proper training, these people can expose themselves and others to potential injury and even death.
"Experience has shown that basic training in disaster survival and rescue skills improves the ability of citizens to survive until responders or other assistance arrives."
To become CERT certified, residents must attend three days of training - April 6, 13 and 20, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. - at the Barbara J. Riley Community and Senior Center. Training is free.
RSVP by e-mailing email@example.com.