CERT training in Salem began in 2006. A training course covers 21 hours, held in seven segments. The first 18 of those hours are in-class instruction, with hands-on exercises. A final exercise is held, of a mock disaster, which allows the instruction topics to be performed. Completing all that, a trainee becomes a CERT volunteer.
In 2012, members of Salem CERT residing in West Salem began to organize themselves. Stephen Paisley and David Yandell led about a dozen members with that effort. Salem CERT areas use the City of Salem Neighborhood Association areas for boundaries. That made the WS CERT area quite large, i.e., all of West Salem. Population figures suggest WS makes up as much as 20% of Salem’s total population. Geography and population details such as those led members to create zones that seemed closer to being of more functional sizes. Currently, there are seven zones. Below is a map of all WS CERT zones.
To organize members within these zones, Lead Teams were created. Those teams coordinate activities within their zones. Those activities include regular meetings, training/review exercises, and events to engage with non-members. All meetings and exercises, regardless of which zone they are held in, are open to all members. Non-members who wish to learn details about CERT training are welcome.
Three zones with regular access to meeting facilities had regular schedules of meetings pre-Covid. Like many other organizations, we switched to virtual venues for our meetings and exercises. Recordings of many of those activities are available for viewing.
We have begun to meet in person again. Members in some zones met together in 2021. Members throughout Salem met on our Quarterly Meeting schedule (set up by the group of original organizers) in 2022. The latter are held on the 2nd Saturdays of quarterly months, beginning with January, from 9-11am. Most of those are held upstairs at Roth’s Market, on Glen Creek Rd.
In 2018 a radio exercise was held instead of the July Qtr Mtg. Some version of a radio exercise has continued each year since. Being held outside and distance between individuals being a requirement, this is one exercise we could continue through Covid times.
After a natural disaster, communication methods we take for granted are often not available. Radio communication is a reliable “backup” method in such situations. CERT training covers general radio use, particularly of FRS radio use. HAM radios are another type of radio used during post-disaster operations, to reach further.
Many types of roles exist for CERT members. These include various aspects of Search & Rescue, transportation of injured people, and emergency medical care. More than 150 West Salem residents have taken a CERT course.