2014-02-13 / Front Page

Aberdeen-Matawan CERT looks for place to call home

By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
Staff Writer


New members of the Aberdeen-Matawan CERT team take part in a final training exercise on Jan. 11. 
COURTESY OF ABERDEEN-MATAWAN CERT New members of the Aberdeen-Matawan CERT team take part in a final training exercise on Jan. 11. COURTESY OF ABERDEEN-MATAWAN CERT Officials in Matawan and Aberdeen are actively searching for a permanent headquarters location for the joint Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

The CERT, which has been serving both municipalities for 10 years, is currently housed in a small trailer without heat or air conditioning and must use surrounding municipal facilities for meetings and training.

Matawan Mayor Paul Buccellato said the Borough Council is looking at potential space at the Matawan Community Center on Broad Street, which houses Borough Hall.

“We are hoping that we can accommodate their request, because they provide a valuable service to both communities,” Buccellato said in a Feb. 5 interview. In Aberdeen, Councilman Gregory Cannon said that space may become available at the Cliffwood EMS station, which is currently underutilized.


The recent graduating class of the Aberdeen-Matawan CERT included 26 members from Matawan, Aberdeen and surrounding areas. 
COURTESY OF MATAWAN-ABERDEEN CERT The recent graduating class of the Aberdeen-Matawan CERT included 26 members from Matawan, Aberdeen and surrounding areas. COURTESY OF MATAWAN-ABERDEEN CERT “We have an issue with the EMS building because the Cliffwood EMS is defunct,” he said, citing the decreasing amount of members. Cannon said the council has entered into an agreement with the Monmouth- Ocean Hospital Services Corp. (MONOC) to make sure that Cliffwood has EMS coverage in the meantime. “We may be able to figure out about CERT having some of the building, but it’s all contingent on resolving the issue with the Cliffwood EMS,” he said.

Members of CERT approached the councils of both towns on Jan. 28 and

Feb. 4 about securing a permanent location.

“Our CERT is called out to many towns that have smaller CERT teams who have a place to call home. We have a trailer that is not heated and airconditioned,” said Herb Caravella, Aberdeen CERT coordinator, at the Aberdeen council meeting. Tom Perry, a member of the volunteer organization, said the CERT advisory committee is always looking for a place to meet.

Finding a permanent location was among a list of action items the team addressed during the presentation. Other action items for 2014 include becoming a nonprofit organization; increasing administrative and clerical support; and increasing communication among the team, which consists of approximately 48 active members.

Perry said that in 2013, CERT members participated in 18 events, training sessions and other emergency responses, accumulating approximately 732 hours. This year, the team wants to expand, he said.

For 2014, CERT plans to establish manda tory meetings, require members to participate in a minimum number of hours, create event coordinators, draft standard operating procedures and hold integrated trainings.

Perry said the team wants to get “integrated” with the training of the fire and police departments, and plan or participate in one of the realistic-scenario trainings every year.

Formed in 2004 as part of a nationwide initiative, CERT helps train people to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations in their communities.

In January, the Aberdeen-Matawan CERT — composed of residents from Aberdeen, Matawan, Keyport and Union Beach — graduated 26 new members who participated in 20 hours of instruction over an eight-week period.

Perry said the course includes instruction on disaster preparedness, disaster fire suppression, disaster medical operations, searchand rescue operations, disaster psychology, team organization and a final exercise designed to test the class on the training.

According to the Aberdeen website, CERT members can give critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site.

CERTs have been used to search for missing children, assist with environmental emergencies, staff emergency operations centers, and assist the American Red Cross and other relief organizations with mass care.

Individuals interested in participating or learning more about the program can contact Caravella at 732-583-4200, ext. 799.

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