Free courses offered to prepare metro Detroiters for disasters

Posted at 6:56 AM, Aug 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-30 06:56:55-04

In the wake of Tropical Storm Harvey’s devastating punch to Texas, it’s becoming more and more clear how important it is to be prepared.

The rainfall in Texas is unprecedented, but the skills to prepare are universal — experts warn that simple preparation can be the difference between panic and calm in a sensitive situation when keeping a calm head can mean the difference between a good and a bad decision.

While the devastation in Houston is hard to imagine in Michigan, the reality is that the same skills that help in the worst-case scenarios can be beneficial for smaller disasters that are more common throughout the country. In Michigan, a number of Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) regularly offer training that help people, and their communities, safe.

In September the Farmington Hills CERT program and Novi CERT program will be teaming up to teach more than 20 hours worth of courses on vital skills including: disaster preparedness, fire suppression, medical operations, light search and rescue and more.

Tim Tutak, the vice chair for the Farmington Emergency Preparedness Commission, explained that the classes will be offered without cost to those interested.

Individuals that are interested can take individual courses, but are encouraged to look at the entire 20-plus hour course which would allow course participants to join a CERT program. CERT volunteers assist community member following a disaster when professional first responders are not immediately available to help — they also can work jobs that clear up emergency responders to do what they do best.

“We’ve all had occasion to use first-aid,” said Tutak. “Two of the classes focus on first aid. We’ve changed that a little bit to focus on disaster first aid, where we have multiple victims and maybe you are the only rescuer.”

Participants who complete all of the sessions will be invited to join the Farmington Area or Novi Area CERT program.

The program will be run at multiple locations on Wednesdays, and a few Thursdays, beginning in mid-September. To register or for more information, contact EPC Vice Chair Tim Tutak at 248-417-0930 or