One of Dearing Councilman Judson Story's goals has been to ensure the safety of the town. Mr. Story, who is a captain with the Dearing Volunteer Fire Department, was instrumental in starting a Neighborhood Watch program in the community.
His latest safety project came to fruition the last Thursday of October with a CERT graduation.
Four residents of Dearing -- Tammy Cason, Dean Cason, Alton Davis and Ray Silverstein -- completed the 10-week Community Emergency Response Teams program, certifying them to assist emergency response agencies in the event of a disaster.
"You are not required by no means to respond just because you have this training," Mr. Story said during the graduation. "The training is designed so that you can help yourself and your neighbor. It's simple, life-saving skills."
The program was designed in Los Angeles in 1985 to help with major disasters in which first responders who provide fire and medical services cannot meet the demands for their services due to the number of victims, communication failures and road blockages.
CERT members are trained in fire safety, search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations to assist others in their neighborhood or workplace.
Even though Dearing is a small community, Mr. Story said the town could receive evacuees from other towns in the event of a tornado or hurricane. He said there are three Red Cross shelters in Dearing -- the Dearing First Baptist Church, the House of Prayer and the Dearing Gym.
Graduates of the program received a backpack that included a hard hat, gloves, emergency blanket, whistle, light sticks, flashlight, glow sticks, crayons to mark doors, an adjustable wrench, four-in-one emergency tool to cut off utilities, duct tape, first-aid kit, guide book and a reflective yellow vest.
For more information on the next CERT course, contact Dearing Town Hall at 706-556-3725.