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Be Prepared with Emergency Response Training

The Westshore Community Emergency Response Team is offering free classes.

Would you know what to do if there were a tornado? What about a flood, fire, terrorist attack or heart attack? The Westshore Community Emergency Response Team does, and you can too.

Safety and health officials from all over the Westshore will be leading a free program to teach you everything you need to know to help yourself, your family and your community in case of an emergency.

"When needs outweigh the resources, we have to be responsible for each other," said Tricia Granfors, Westshore Community Emergency Response Team coordinator.

The Saturday morning sessions start March 17 and run for five weeks from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at St. John Medical Center and the City of Westlake Service Center.

Granfors, a certified incident command system instructor, will be teaching, as will Mike Johnson, disaster coordinator for St. John Medical Center, Rocky River Fire Chief Christopher Flynn and Jean Maxwell from Lakewood Hospital.

"We start out at home, because you have to be prepared first," Granfors said. The training sessions include information on chemical interactions, triage, disaster psycholog, basic fire safety, terrorism awareness and more. "We aren't going to go digging holes in the backyard and filling it with ammo. These are sensible things, like buying insurance before the accident."

"A lot of people have fire extinguishers, but they've never used them before," Granfors said, noting that participants will have the chance to put out a live fire. Participants will also learn how to handle medical problems like strains, burns, hypothermia, get familiar with the CERT organizational structure and learn how to do light search and rescue.

After completing the free training, participants are eligible to become part of the group, which boasts over 240 members.

"People can take the training for free, even if they don't join the team," Granfors said. "Every team that's prepared is a load off the emergency response system."

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