Are you confident that you can take care of yourself and your family during the next earthquake? Are you prepared to serve your community and help your neighbors in the next winter flood?

Whitethorn Fire Protection District Chief Kent Griggsmiller has invited the Regional Training Institute to teach a 23-hour course, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training, to prepare Southern Humboldt residents to do just that.

CERT teaches the skills and teamwork that prepare you to take care of yourself and others - perhaps for days, if first responders cannot reach or help you immediately. When you are CERT trained, you are far more equipped to deal with your circumstances, without needing aid from outside sources in those first few critical hours of a major disaster.

Class participants will receive the initial training over three days, Sept. 28-30 (Friday afternoon and early evening, and all day on Saturday and Sunday) in the Whitethorn Construction community room. Participants also receive safety equipment: hardhat, goggles, gloves, dust mask, flashlight in a backpack.

Topics covered in the CERT training are: personal and family preparedness; earthquake preparation, tsunami, wildfire, flood hazards; team organization; disaster psychology; medical operations and triage; damage assessment; fire suppression; fire chemistry; hazardous materials overview; light search and rescue; concluding with a full disaster simulation drill.

The regular CERT course fee is $150, which reflects the actual cost of instruction and course materials. However, chief Griggsmiller received generous donations from several agencies and individuals to offer this course free of charge to the first 12 residents of the Whitethorn Fire Protection District who register for the September course.

Susie Fox of the Shelter Cove CERT group has secured funding for up to 10 Shelter Cove residents to participate in the Whitethorn training, free of charge.

Once free slots are full, the course fee is $110.

Register by phone or online: Office of Distance and Extended Education at Humboldt State University, (707) 826-3731, www.humboldt.edu/rti/cert. For questions about course content, call Judy Warren, coordinator, Regional Training Institute-Community Disaster Preparedness, (707) 499-0754.