Community Emergency Response Team Volunteers
The West Orange Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a volunteer group of residents serving the Township of West Orange, Essex County, New Jersey. Team members agree to assist their neighbors and township during an emergency or disaster. Citizen Corps, a federal program under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has defined CERT as: "CERT is about readiness, people helping people, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number. CERT is 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." In West Orange, CERT promotes disaster preparation and readiness before a disaster strikes so that you, your family, and your neighbors are better equipped to deal with the challenges an emergency or disaster brings.
Why Join CERT?
Because you want to keep your family safe as well as your neighbors!
We train to provide support to first responders, organize other volunteers in the event of a disaster, and provide reliable information to first responders when the scope of a disaster may outpace their ability to gather information on their own. Our members are trained in Basic First Aid, Family Disaster Preparedness, Basic Medical Operations, CERT Operations, Disaster Mental Health, and Basic Emergency Management in order to work with uniformed professionals in the event of an emergency or disaster. We also promote awareness, preparedness, and readiness through education and by assisting West Orange residents to prepare for potential emergencies, establish plans, and prepare supplies and helpful tools such as a radio, flashlight, batteries, food, water and cash as examples.
CERT in West Orange
West Orange primarily faces the threat of extreme weather conditions, which includes but is not limited to winter storms and hurricanes which can create severe storm activity. These kinds of storms can greatly impact travel, cause power outages, property damage or flash flooding. In these situations, having volunteers who can help their neighbors immediately following the storm events will help keep professional responders free to help where they are most needed. We also focus on how we can act as a force multiplier for the Fire Department EMS operations and the Police Department at major town events. By providing an established group for the Township to reach out to during emergencies, communications can be streamlined and the Township can know there is a dedicated group of individuals who are committed and trained to help with preparation and recovery when asked.
Citizens Corps provides a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) site that answers many common questions people have about CERT. You can also read more about the history of the CERT concept at the Citizen Corps site CERT.
How can I contribute?
- At least 18 years old
- Willing to attend regular meetings, training, and deployment events
- Looking for a way to assist your neighbors and the town during an emergency
- A West Orange resident (or your surrounding town does not have a CERT program)
- Willing to submit to a background check
You are not:
- Expected to risk your safety as part of CERT
- Looking to be considered a first responder
To get more information potential volunteers are welcome to email us or attend our monthly meetings, which are typically held the alternating first Monday or Wednesday of every month at the West Orange Office of Emergency Management Operation Center, located at 25 Mt. Pleasant Place at 6:30 pm.
Meeting dates are posted below:
Monday October 2nd; Wednesday November 1st; Monday December 4th
West Orange CERT table of Organization
In West Orange, CERT is overseen under the direction of the Office of Emergency Management, as is overseen by the West Orange Fire Department. Our chain of command is through Fire Department Officer, Fire Captain Abdur Yasin. The West Orange CERT Officers, each elected for a term of 2 years, (currently from September 2021 to September 2023) are the following:
Calogera McCormick- (973) 634-8571
CERT in West Orange
In West Orange, CERT has helped:
- Teach residents how to prepare their family for emergencies
- Community education regarding emergency preparedness at township events and to youth groups
- Participate in COVID vaccination events
- Perform tasks within our scope of training allowing the Township's First Responders to handle larger incidents during emergencies
- Close roads for parades and races/walks
- Assist Township Public Safety Agencies with overall scene safety during town wide events
- Staff shelters during emergencies
- Support Essex County sponsored food insecurity distribution events
- Support food insecurity with weekly food distribution to West Orange residents (since 2020)
We also take pride in training our members beyond CERT BASIC training:
- Emergency Sheltering and Medical/Special Needs Sheltering
- CPR/AED/First Aid
- Firefighter/Large Incident Rehabilitation
- Wilderness Search
- Accessibility and functional needs
- 10 - 2 hour meetings/training sessions a year
- 5 - 4 hour classes for BASIC training
- 5 - 4 hour Planned Deployments a year