Snow­mo­bil­ing CERT Team En­hances Emer­gency Ser­vices in North Dakota

Sno-Dak News - - The Region Reports -

The res­i­dents of Burleigh County, North Dakota are no strangers to the dan­gers of ex­treme win­ter weather and heavy snow­falls. When emer­gency ser­vice ve­hi­cles are un­able to re­spond to emer­gen­cies, the mem­bers of the Roughrider Snow­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion CERT are able to as­sist. The nearly 30 snow­mo­bil­ing CERT vol­un­teers can tra­verse ter­rain of­ten ren­dered im­pass­able to emer­gency ser­vice ve­hi­cles.

Given the county’s ex­pan­sive 1,668 square miles, which in­cludes the state’s cap­i­tal, Bis­marck, par­tic­u­larly bad win­ter storms can leave res­i­dents feel­ing iso­lated and out of touch. En­ter the Roughrid­ers. Th­ese hardy CERT vol­un­teers stand ready to con­duct a va­ri­ety of tasks on their mo­tor­ized sleds. For ex­am­ple, af­ter a snow storm, vol­un­teers search for stranded ve­hi­cles to en­sure no one re­quires med­i­cal at­ten­tion be­fore mark­ing the aban­doned ve­hi­cle to sig­nal that it is empty and ready for a tow. Be­cause of the unique needs of the snow­mo­bile rid­ers, the pro­gram mod­i­fied the stan­dard CERT kit to in­clude a snow­mo­bile back­pack com­plete with win­ter sup­plies, in­clud­ing warm­ers, emer­gency blan­kets, and a col­lapsi­ble snow shovel.

Dur­ing a CERT ac­ti­va­tion in the Spring of 2013, vol­un­teers pro­vided rides to crit­i­cal hospi­tal per­son­nel to en­sure they made it to work safely. They also trans­ported first re­spon­ders to the scene of an emer­gency. The team com­pleted In­ci­dent Com­mand Sys­tem train­ing, and they are no­ti­fied of po­ten­tial storms to pro­vide in­creased readi­ness for pos­si­ble ac­ti­va­tion.

Mary Senger, Burleigh County Emer­gency Man­ager, en­cour­ages CERT pro­gram man­agers and emer­gency man­age­ment pro­fes­sion­als to col­lab­o­rate with or­ga­ni­za­tions al­ready serv­ing the com­mu­nity. The Roughrider team meets fre­quently and vol­un­teers reg­u­larly take sup­ple­men­tal CPR, first aid, and other es­sen­tial train­ings, some of which Senger’s of­fice helped fa­cil­i­tate. “They have the de­sire, the pas­sion, and the snow­mo­biles,” said Senger, prais­ing the vol­un­teers. “It’s a great fit for our com­mu­nity.”

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