Sedgwick County plans for more events in 2023
By Travis Mounts, TSnews
HAYSVILLE – Nineteen people spent a large part of their weekend in Haysville learning how to handle themselves and help others in a wide variety of emergency situations.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is sponsored nationally by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and locally by Sedgwick County Emergency Management. CERT educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may occur where they live.
“It’s for citizens so they can be more prepared to help themselves in their neighborhoods,” said Haysville Police Chief Jeff Whitfield. “It’s a grassroots effort.”
They learned fire safety and used fire extinguishers, were taught about utility controls like how to shut off natural gas lines, learned first aid, covered light search and rescue, and talked about topics like terrorism, active shooters, and even emergency supplies like having extra bottled water on hand.
Longtime Haysville residents know these lessons first hand. A tornado in 1999 caused significant damage to the city, leveling much of the main business district. The tornado tracked from north of Wellington, through Haysville and into Wichita. It damaged 150 homes and 27 businesses, and six persons lost their lives.
Last weekend’s participants spent Friday evening, all day Saturday and Sunday afternoon learning and practicing for many scenarios.
“It was a pretty action-packed weekend,” Whitfield added. “It gives citizens an idea of what they can do and how they can help in a situation where you might not get help right away.”
Sedgwick County will offer CERT training four more times this year. The next one will be March 31 to April 2 at Derby Fire Station 81.
Later ones include June 30 to July 2 at the Sedgwick County Extension Center in Wichita, Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 at the Wichita Regional Fire Training Center, and Dec. 1-3 at a site to be determined.
Sign-up can be done online. Visit the county website at www.sedgwickcounty.org, go to the emergency management page, and then click on the “Get Involved – Volunteer” link.