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Community Emergency Response Team looking for volunteers

LAWRENCEVILLE - The Gwinnett County Community Emergency Response Team held its inaugural meeting for its graduates Wednesday. Keynote speakers were Maj. Alan Doss Gwinnett homeland security director and Duluth Mayor Shirley Lasseter.

The meeting, which took place at the Gwinnett Justice and Administrative Building in Lawrenceville, brought together the graduates of the CERT training program.

According to CERT Program Director Thomas Mulheron, the organization is an all-risk, all-hazard training with a course designed to "help you protect yourself, your family, your neighbors and your neighborhood in an emergency situation."

"The Gwinnett County CERT brought training through Homeland Security and then through Georgia Emergency Management Agency," Mulheron said.

Mulheron said CERT is seeking volunteers and will teach the skills that are needed to survive in disasters.

Mulheron also said the goal of the meeting was to provide insight on what has been done and where the program is going and to recruit interested parties to assist in expanding the program beyond the initial training.

"We also had the meeting to seek the graduates' commitment to the program through involvement," he said.

According to Doss, CERT started in February 2005 and has had eight classes. The ninth class will start in

October.

"We have to have a lot of help when natural disasters happen," Doss said. "The last major one was Hurricane Katrina, and we need to get ready for the pandemic flu if it comes."

Mulheron said some of the rescue efforts they have already done include the search for Jennifer Wilbanks last year, and after Katrina they set up a relief center at the old Wal-Mart building off Ga. Highway 20.

For more information on Gwinnett CERT or on how to join, call 770-513-5830 or visit www.gwinnettcert.org.