Big Bear City, CA, June 27, 2011, 8:00am - Fire Departments in Big Bear Valley are currently offering Community Emergency Response Team courses. The CERT program is designed to train members of the community as emergency service volunteers. Once trained, CERT volunteers respond to disaster situations by fanning out within their neighborhood putting out small fires, turning off natural gas inlets to damaged homes, performing light search and rescue, and administering basic first aid. Since the CERT program started in 1998, there have been over 250 class graduates. Area Representatives and Team Leaders have been established throughout Big Bear Valley. More participation is still needed. As many residents know, Big Bear Valley has seen fires, floods, and earthquakes. Local fire agencies want everyone to be prepared and well trained for disaster situations. On-going training is provided to CERT members on a regular basis, they have become a very important element in the disaster preparedness plan of Big Bear Valley. The CERT program is a series of five courses, four hours each, providing hands-on training in Emergency Preparedness, Medical Aids, Fire Suppression Techniques, Light Search and Rescue, and Communications/Team Building Skills. Classes are open to all Valley residents at a no cost. The next full series of classes will begin on July 18 at the Big Bear City Fire Department. Sign-up early, class size is limited. To register, call the Big Bear City Fire Department at 585-2362.