LEWISTON —  The Androscoggin Unified Emergency Management Agency (ANEMA) is recruiting volunteers to add to its existing Community Emergency Response Teams in Androscoggin County.

The Community Emergency Response Team is a group of individuals trained in basic disaster response skills. The teams were originally developed in California in response to earthquakes. During a disaster or large scale emergency, citizens will initially be “on their own,” and their actions can make a difference.

Through training, citizens can manage utilities and put out small fires; treat the three killers by opening airways, controlling bleeding, and treating for shock; provide basic medical aid; search for and rescue victims safely; and organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective.

Joanne Potvin, director of ANEMA, said, “When you look at the challenges we face every day in making sure that we’re ready for the next disaster, you are the most important part of the team – getting prepared, getting a plan, getting trained. And if disaster strikes, making sure once you and your family are OK, check on a neighbor.”

Volunteering to be a team member requires a commitment to attend and complete a 20-hour training program. Upon graduation, members are certified as disaster volunteers and issued an equipment package for use in personal and county-wide disaster response.

Androscoggin County also trains and supports its County Animal Response Team which provides emergency animal sheltering and rescue services throughout the county. The team is equipped with emergency rescue and sheltering equipment, and is designed to complement the human shelters that may be activated in an emergency.

For more information about the teams in Androscoggin County, contact Hal Chase, the ANEMA CERT coordinator, at 784-0147, or e-mail [email protected] Volunteer applications are available online at www.androscogginema.org or in person at ANEMA, 45 Oak St.

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