CERT saves taxpayer money while saving your life

While it might look like a typical trailer, it is designed to be there in an emergency. It is run by volunteers who are meant to jump in and help you when you need it the most.

“In an emergency, a sense of helplessness can come over the citizen because they don’t know where to seek help,” said Gary Miller, a Community Emergency Response Team volunteer.

If you find yourself at a Charlotte County event like the Florida International Air Show or the Englewood Waterfest, you may run into Miller.

Miller and other CERT volunteers are trained to help with first aid treatment at community events. But for the last five years, it was hard to spot them in big crowds.

“I won’t say it was chaos,” Miller said, “but it was much less organized.”

Now, CERT will have a home base at community events like the Englewood Waterfest or Florida International Air Show.

Charlotte’s CERT team now has its own trailer to help assist Charlotte County Fire and EMS at big events or provide its support at small gatherings.

“It’s a central place where they know where they can go,” said Ellen Pinder, a CERT coordinator. “They know ‘hey, CERT is here and they’re going to take care of us.'”

Pinder said a grant from the state covered the costs and the financial benefits will likely continue.

Since the volunteers are unpaid, they saved the county $109,000 by providing free help instead of using EMT’s for first aid assistance.

Miller said it is nice to save the county money, but it is an even better feeling knowing he may be saving lives.

“You can’t describe how good it feels to give back when you’ve been given so much,” Miller said.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled the name of Ellen Pinder. We apologize for the error.

Reporter:Erika Jackson
Writer:Michael Mora
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