Monday, April 27, 2009


Elyria – As the news began to spread about the Swine Flu hitting Elyria, a group of citizens were called into action to help notify parents of the situation.

Alice Webber, Assistant Director of the Lorain County Emergency Management Agency said the group – Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) – was called into action. “Superintendent Rigda sent out a reverse 9-1-1 message to parents of children who attend Ely School informing them of the 9 year old student who tested positive for the Swine Flu. He was unable to reach all of the parents by phone so we activated CERT to help inform any family who could not be reached by phone.”

The members of the group went out in teams of two and were each given a portable radio and a stack of notices with addresses. Each member wore a green vest with the CERT logo on the front and back for easy identification.

Webber said that her office only activated one zone of CERT, which consists of 32 members. The additional two zones were placed on stand by but Webber believed that they would not be needed.

Before a special phone number was given out through the media for parents to call with any questions or concerns – a group was set up in an undisclosed location to take those calls.

As CERT members knocked on doors parents were thrilled to see that Lorain County has such a group in place. One mother who did not want to be identified said that they have been without a phone for a while and only 3 channels on their TV. “I don’t know how long it would have taken us to find out about this had it not been for these two men. What a blessing it is that we have neighbors who would give of their time – especially on a beautiful afternoon like this – to go out and help complete strangers. I will be checking each of my children tonight and you can bet we will be keeping an close eye on them for any of these symptoms.”

Webber said that as of now there are 110 CERT members and although that is a good number to have; “But not good enough to have for the areas that we have to cover in case there is a bigger incident.”

Anyone wishing to learn more about CERT or would like to become involved: CLICK HERE


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