Volunteers train to help in emergencies

As part of KPCC's Season's Givings series, KPCC's Kitty Felde talks with volunteers for the Community Emergency Response Team. It's a program that trains people on how to aid others during emergencies.

Kitty Felde: I'm Kitty Felde with Season's Givings.

Anjelica Colon: This whole bag that we have – it's like an Army bag – it's filled with medical supplies galore.

Felde: Anjelica Colon is a paramedic in Santa Fe Springs. Her brother's a paramedic, too. Anjelica and her father Jose are organizing bags and backpacks of emergency kits in their living room.

Anjelica Colon: My fear was I'm not going to be home to help them when – if something should happen and I'm at work. My mom actually found the CERT program online.

Felde: CERT stands for the Community Emergency Response Team. It trains people how to do some of what firefighters do in emergencies. There are CERT teams in all 50 states. Angelica attended a CERT training course with her dad. Jose Colon says he learned a lot in that training course.

Jose Colon: How to handle fire extinguishers, how to determine what's a serious injury and what's a mild injury, how to be able to treat some of it.

Anjelica Colon: We can treat a lot of things that, that if we call the fire department, they can treat it as well, but if they're not available, if there's a disaster, if there's something going on that they can't get to us right away, we can help each other until they get here and maybe save each other's lives.

Felde: Now Anjelica Colon and her dad are sort of the volunteer disaster aid team for their neighborhood. Jose Colon says the kids on the block know when they scrape their knees, come to the Colons' for a Band-Aid.

Jose Colon: It's great to know that they know. We're a family that enjoys helping others. We help ourselves, but we also enjoy helping others. It's like a reward for us, just to be able to help someone.

Anjelica Colon: This is what I do for a living. But it's what I love to do. Knowing that there's disasters headed our way – possibly – we want to be extremely well prepared. And this is the city we live in. We want to take care of it.

Felde: You can find out about CERT training in your neighborhood by contacting your local fire department. You can also check out CERT-LA.com.

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