WINDER - In the face of natural or manmade disasters, there's no such thing as too much manpower.
So goes the motto of the Barrow County Community Emergency Response Team, a group of trained citizen volunteers who could act as the first line of defense at the outset of disaster.
The burgeoning team began its spring training class this week, adding to a roster CERT president Bob Richardson deems impressive.
"(In) the last year, CERT has grown and made great improvements," said Richardson. In 2009, participation "looks to be even better."
The CERT Program educates citizens about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact local communities. Learned skills include fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations.
The training class, offered at no cost, also schools participants on how to assist public safety officials in the event of a disaster, Richardson said.
The inaugural CERT program in Barrow concluded in June 2006 with six graduates. The goal of the program is to offer up to three courses a year to better educate and prepare citizens.
"We need to look at recruiting new members and preparing them as well," Richardson said.
To receive more information regarding the Barrow County CERT team, call 770-307-2987, or
Decorated disaster team
CERT teams members were recognized by leaders during a recent dinner in Winder. They include:
Two-Star Awards winners: Amanda Blackstock, Mary Bryant, Fe Hevener, Connie Keener, Shawn Powers, Chris Sullivan, Rick Thomford, Rebecca Wood and Carrie Enriquez.
Three-Star Awards winners: Laura Clark, Dennis Hevener, Bruce Davis, Brain Keener, Adul Keomahathai and Mike Wilson.
Four-Star Award winners, recognized for high levels of dedication: Shannon Baxter, Dave Mueller and Cal Neff.