[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Westwood as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Article I Community Emergency Response Team
[Adopted 10-14-2014 by Ord. No. 14-32]
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Bergen County CERT and other emergency management organizations have recognized the potential value and contribution of local CERT teams to the health, safety and welfare of their respective communities.
The Borough of Westwood, by this article, establishes and creates the Westwood CERT Team as a program within and under the direction of the Westwood Office of Emergency Management.
In forming the CERT the Mayor and Council seek the furtherance of the following policies, among others:
During a large-scale disaster, the response of the Borough's Police, DPW and volunteer emergency services may be delayed or overwhelmed by the nature and scope of an event. This leaves the citizens of the Borough to provide for their own well-being and safety until first responders arrive. This reality is the cornerstone of the Westwood Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
The goal of the CERT program is to provide our residents who complete the CERT training with the basic skills that they will need to provide for their personal safety and that of their family/neighbors. It also prepares them to respond to the Borough's immediate needs in the aftermath of a disaster, when emergency services may be delayed or unavailable. By supplementing the Borough's emergency services capabilities, CERTs can protect property using the basic techniques in this course.
CERT is about readiness, people helping people, personal safety and doing the greatest good for the greatest number. The program provides a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens will be initially on their own and their actions can make a difference. CERT is a community based volunteer effort and is a component of the Borough's Office of Emergency Management.
The criteria for membership in CERT shall be as follows:
Citizen or legal resident of the United States.
Resident of the Borough of Westwood (or business owner or employee of a business within the Borough).
Eighteen years of age or older.
Subject to background check.
Successful completion of FEMA/New Jersey State Police approved CERT training.
Members shall be appointed by the Mayor, subject to confirmation by the Council, and shall serve indefinitely unless or until their resignation, ineligibility, removal or inability to serve for any other reason.
Participation in at least 50% of Westwood CERT training events each calendar year.
Completion of any future required training for CERT volunteers.
Westwood CERT will be managed by the OEM Coordinator or his designee. It shall be the responsibility of the CERT Coordinator, either OEM Coordinator or his designee, to maintain membership certification, training and attendance records for all CERT members.
If staffing permits, the Westwood CERT shall be comprised of the following:
CERT Squad Leader(s), each squad being comprised, ideally, of six persons in addition to the Squad Leader. In the event membership doesn't match that squad size the CERT Coordinator may vary the size of the squad or squads to best utilize members with as few as four members or as many as eight in a squad plus the Squad Leader.
CERT Members shall serve without compensation for their services; provided, however, that it shall be lawful if the municipality in its discretion chooses to reimburse certain members for certain out-of-pocket expenditures.
The CERT's mission shall be as follows:
CERT members are trained in basic disaster response skills, team organization and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members ensure their own safety first, and are then prepared to assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when first responders are not available or when general assistance is needed in a variety of non-life threatening operations. CERT members are also prepared to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.
CERT is a critical program in the effort to engage everyone in the Borough in making the community safer, more prepared and more resilient when incidents occur.
The CERT program can provide an effective, supplemental response capability. Acting as individuals first (in securing their own safety and that of their immediate family/neighborhood), then later as members of teams, trained CERT volunteers can assist (not replace) first responders in many ways as well as act as effective "eyes and ears" for uniformed emergency responders. They become an important supplemental workforce to serve the community in such nonhazardous functions such as shelter support, crowd control and evacuation.
CERT members or their squads shall only serve during emergencies and shall not perform any actions or services beyond their training, qualification and mission. The authorized role of trained CERT members includes but is not limited to the following:
Assisting as a shelter aid.
Assisting to emergency services teams in areas of recordkeeping, communication and logistical support.
Performing public assistance checks for senior citizens and disabled residents.
Assisting first responders or public work employees in nonhazardous duties at disaster scenes or during rescue operations as authorized by, and under the direction of, the OEM Coordinator.
Assisting with large nonemergency events within the Borough such as parades, runs and similar events under the direction of and as authorized by the OEM Coordinator.
In the event of an emergency, the CERT will be activated through the Borough Office of Emergency Management under order of the OEM Coordinator. Activation for non-disaster or emergency events would follow a written request and a written authorization from the Westwood OEM. CERT members shall not interfere with or perform services delegated to the Westwood Volunteer Ambulance Corps or the Westwood Fire Department or other duly qualified first responding organizations.