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Congregations Keeping Communities Safe

by Lisbeth R.

I have been a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member in Cobb County, Georgia since 2004. It all started with my desire to help my family and neighbors to survive a disaster.

I started searching on the internet to find out if any volunteer opportunities were being offered in my community, and that's how I found CERT through Citizen Corps and ultimately Cobb County. I participated in exercises, drills, training and recruitment opportunities. I took numerous FEMA independent courses in emergency management until I decided to enroll in a formal study program in emergency management. That is when I started the graduate certificate program in emergency management at Georgia State University.

Today that knowledge has allowed me to create a ministry in my church focusing on awareness of emergency management including conducting drills, exercises and training. Through that ministry, I have created vital documents such as emergency operations procedures for church and faith-based schools, continuity of operations plans, and evacuation plans--documents that I am happy to share with my neighbors.

In addition to the purpose of sharing those documents, and in the spirit of cooperation, I have established communication between the church and the Public Safety authorities including, the sheriff, police, fire and emergency management departments in the county. After all how good is a plan if it not shared with those who are there to help you?

Lastly, as a congregation we have agreed to become a Point of distribution (POD) for the CDC Strategic National Stockpile to the surrounding community should a pandemic occur. Our intent at Grandview 7th Day Adventist Church is to serve our community. We do that by being prepared and by helping others to prepare for unforseen disasters. To learn more about Citizen Corps or to make sure that you and your community are ready, please visit http://www.citizencorps.gov/ready/.

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