Written by nbcert on Wednesday, August, 15th, 2012 in Information.

City of New Braunfels CERT Foundation (CNBCERT) is a formal organization of individuals that reside within the city limits of the City of New Braunfels (City) or its’ ETJ. These citizens are trained in disaster preparedness, mitigation, and response and will be activated to assist the City during times of emergencies and disasters. We refer to these members collectively as NBCERT.

NBCERT members must apply as a volunteer with City of New Braunfels Office of Emergency Management (OEM), which reviews each applicant to ensure they pass a background check, drug test and are of good moral character.

The need for a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteer group was fully realized after the June 9, 2010 flood event that affected the City and surrounding communities. This devastating flood, while it did not directly result in any reported deaths, it did cause millions of dollars in destruction to homes and businesses. Many volunteers stepped forward during this time of great need to help their neighbors. As a way to help and assist future willing volunteers, it was determined that the City should provide training to these energetic and valuable resources.

With the assistance of the Alamo Area Community of Governments (AACOG), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the City there are quarterly training and CERT recruiting events. The training consists of a 20 hour certification course that includes disaster first aid, light search and rescue, fire safety, disaster psychology and terrorism awareness.

At the conclusion of this formal training, the student-participants are subjected to a mock exercise to test their knowledge and skills. This activity is a stressful simulated incident that is unscripted and incorporates many victims in multiple states of distress.

The very first training class for New Braunfels Community Emergency Response Team (NBCERT) graduated in December of 2010. There have been many additional classes since then.

As a form of continuing education and community development, NBCERT participates in various other training offerings. This includes, but is not limited to:

National Weather Service – Skywarn Training
American Red Cross – Shelter Operations
Comal County Health Department – Rapid Tag, Spontaneous Volunteer Registration
FEMA – Significant Damage Estimate training
New Braunfels Fire Department – CPR/First Aid and AED training
Multi-jurisdictional – Airport Hazardous Material exercise, Rehabilitation for First Responders
Comal County – Point of Disbursements (POD) exercise
Christus Santa Rosa Hospital – Rapid Tag, Spontaneous Volunteer Registration
AMTRAK – Passenger Train Emergency Response Training
Center for Domestic Preparedness – CBRNE, WMD Awareness-level training
TRANSCAER – Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response

NBCERT has assisted the City of New Braunfels Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and other City departments with various planned and real events. These include, but are not limited to:

February 2010 – Wide-area search for missing 18mo old child
Annual Wien & Sanegerfest – First Aid tent
Kops & Kids – Preparedness Awareness tent and pamphlet distribution
Monthly OEM Training – WebEOC exercise
Are You Ready? – Preparedness Awareness tent and pamphlet distribution
Fire Wise – Preparedness Awareness tent and pamphlet distribution
LDS Preparedness Event – Preparedness Awareness table and pamphlet distribution
NB WebEOC ’12 Exercise – Victim simulation
NB/Christus AMTRAK Exercise – Victim simulation

Looking forward, NBCERT is currently working on various activation exercises, developing plans and procedures for many tasks that will come up during an emergency, and utilizing the Incident Command System to operate while activated. Future plans for NBCERT include the development of NBCERT personnel to train and instruct other new members. (Completed; We now have 5 instructors.) These in-house CERT trainers will eventually be able to train in other emergency management topics. A goal of NBCERT is to work on securing equipment and materials needed for a more robust response capability once the foundation achieves tax-exempt status.