The next session of an ongoing series of community safety workshops will offer tips on how to make certain a workplace is prepared in the event of a severe weather event or other disaster.

The Grove City area Community Emergency Response Team will host a program on workplace preparedness at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, at Jackson Township Fire Station 202, 3650 Hoover Road.

The program is free and open to the public.

Chris Williams of the Franklin County Emergency Management Association and Lisa Houston, a safety consultant with the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation, will lead the program.

"Given that we spend about a third of our time at work, the chances are pretty good that's where you might be if a tornado or some other disaster or emergency situation takes place in our community," said Matt Yerkes, coordinator of the Grove City CERT program.

"It's really important that businesses, churches and organizations have a plan and know what to do to protect their employees if something happens," Yerkes said.

The Aug. 10 program will be the third CERT session held in Grove City.

The first program in May offered training on how to handle downed power lines and help the fire department in providing emergency generator power and assisting with basement flooding.

In July, attendees learned the basics of first aid.

Upcoming sessions will include a program on protecting the home and coping with family disaster Sept. 14 and training for using a fire extinguisher Oct. 12, Yerkes said.

The programs will coincide with National Preparedness Month in September and Fire Prevention Week, which takes place in October, he said.

Those programs also will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Hoover Road fire station.

Each session includes an overview of the community's CERT program, Yerkes said.

"We encourage people to consider taking the nine-week CERT training program that's offered twice a year by the county," Yerkes said.

"That is a more intensive series of nine three-hour sessions that goes far more in-depth than we can at the local level," he said.

The county's CERT program is coordinated in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The Jackson Township Fire Department sponsors the local effort.

A CERT program trains volunteers in basic disaster response skills. The volunteers can be called on to assist if a natural disaster or emergency occurs.

"We have outstanding emergency responders in our community with the Grove City police department and Jackson Township fire," Yerkes said.

"But we have 40,000 people who live in the Grove City area and if there was a communitywide emergency, it just wouldn't be possible for them to get to everywhere they're needed at once," he said.

Volunteers who go through the full CERT training program would be able to provide basic first aid until paramedics arrive, Jackson Township fire Chief Randy Little said.

"They would also be able to help us with assessing a situation and help us prioritize where we need to send our people to first," Little said.

In an emergency situation, "not just minutes, but seconds count," Little said.

"Having someone on the scene who knows what to do until first responders can arrive could mean the difference between life and death," he said.

Yerkes said anyone wanting more information about the nine-week CERT training sessions or the local program can email him at matt@grovecitycert.org or go to facebook.com/grovecitycert.

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