WINDER -- Preparedness is once again the topic du jour in Barrow County.
The Barrow County Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, has started its fall classes with one of the largest resident responses on record, officials said.
Of some 30 applicants, 22 residents qualified for and now comprise the fall class, said Barrow County CERT President Mike Wilson.
"It's wonderful that this many are willing to spend the time to become better educated in emergency preparedness," Wilson said. "They may even be interested in helping out in the community by joining the Community Emergency Response Team."
The program's eight weeks of classes are being held at the First United Methodist Church in Winder.
The CERT program educates residents in disaster preparedness for hazards that may affect their area.
Students learn basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue team organization and disaster medical operations, Lt. Scott Dakin said.
"CERT classes educate individuals in how they can assist their family and their neighborhood or workplace following an event when the 911 professional responders are not immediately available," Dakin said.
Anyone interested in the CERT program or the free training should contact officials via barrowcert.org or by calling CERT President Mike Wilson at 770-868-0548.