Monroe County, FL News Release May 22, 2018
MONROE COUNTY FORMING "MONROE EMERGENCY RESERVE CORPS"
MARATHON, FL - On Monday night (May 21, 2018) at the Marathon Government Center, Monroe County Emergency Management Director Martin Senterfitt held the first informational meeting about the creation of the "Monroe Emergency Reserve Corps." This new Reserve Corps will be made up of volunteers with a variety of talents and skills who would like to help in time of emergency in the Keys.
"Government can't do it alone, especially in our remote community with limited resources," Senterfitt told the group of about 70 people who attended despite the stormy weather to learn more about the Reserve Corps. "We know we have hundreds of people who want to help. And we need our citizens to be part of the solution. We think we can find jobs for everyone."
To make it safe for Reserve Corps volunteers to work in emergencies - and to most efficiently coordinate their efforts - Senterfitt explained that the Reserve Corps primarily would operate using Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs).
Individuals who want to participate on a Community Emergency Response Team would need to complete a free, 32-hour training, which likely will be held in four-hour segments. The training will include basic first-aid, basic generator safety and many other survival skills needed in times of emergency.
Volunteers also will be trained to fill targeted missions, including volunteer management, donations management, staging area management, facility management, food and water distribution management and other assigned duties.
Volunteers also can receive specific position training, including volunteer coordinator, CERT instructors, check-in recorders, status records, forward observes, food unit leader and public information specialist.
"Those who graduate the CERT training get a golden re-entry ticket into the Keys," Senterfitt said. "You'll be the first ones coming back from evacuations, but your vehicle will be loaded with supplies and tools and you'll really know how to be self-sufficient. We train people what are the proper expectations in a real disaster."
With the 2018 Hurricane Season officially starting on June 1, Senterfitt said he will work as quickly as possible to put the training together. Locations for the training will based on the level of interest throughout the Keys.
The Monroe County Reserve Corps also can use people who can work remotely during emergencies, helping with public information and other duties, or who want to volunteer when it is safe for everyone to return to the Keys. These types of volunteers may not need the CERT training.
If you would like to be put on a list to receive the CERT training, to volunteer for the Reserve Corps or to receive more information, go to www.monroecounty-fl.gov/volunteermonroe or call Monroe County Emergency Management at 305-289-6018.