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Coral Springs/Parkland CERT Named Florida CERT Team of the Year

On Saturday, August 27, 2016, Coral Springs/Parkland CERT was chosen as the 2016 Florida CERT Association CERT Team of the Year at the annual Florida CERT Association Conference Awards dinner.

Coral Springs/Parkland CERT has been one of the preeminent teams in South Florida for over 13 years. Its success can be attributed to its strong leadership team, dedicated membership, and the unwavering support of the Coral Springs/Parkland Fire Department. The team was built by, and is run completely by the volunteers.

Coral Springs/Parkland CERT is one of the most active teams in South Florida. In the last 12 months, Coral Springs/Parkland CERT has been activated more than 20 times to support the police and fire departments for events such as fires, gas leaks, hazmat situations, missing person searches, Mass Casualty Incidents (MCI's), bomb threat evacuations at a school, and a plane crash. The team has responded to multiple canteen/rehab calls in neighboring cities to assist other CERTs while they assist their fire departments. Since its inception, CS CERT has responded to hundreds of calls.In addition to the calls listed above, CERT has responded to SWAT activations, large brush fires, a recycling plant fire that burned for over 24 hours, and the Goodyear Blimp crash.

Coral Springs/Parkland CERT has assisted with overnight fire watch details at a very large local elderly living facility while the power was turned off to the entire complex in order to replace a key electrical system transfer switch. The team has also staffed first aid booths, helped support the traveling Vietnam War travelling wall while in Coral Springs, and provided support at a local half marathon.

In 2009, Coral Springs/Parkland CERT was an integral part of the H1N1 Pandemic Preparedness plan under the Coral Springs Office of Emergency Management.

Coral Springs/Parkland CERT created a canteen/rehab team to respond, when needed, to assist the fire department. The team responds to calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.Many times they have responded to multiple calls in the same day. The team responds to any type of extended operation to provide care and support for firefighters and police officers, especially in the heat of South Florida.Firefighters can't thank the team enough for providing cold water, Gatorade, ice cold towels, cooling chairs, fans, and anything else necessary to help out. The team has a reputation of professionalism that is unparalleled.Because of this reputation, other fire departments in Broward County reach out to Coral Springs/Parkland CERT when they are in need.Other teams in Broward County created their canteen/rehab teams based on the Coral Springs model.

CERT members are frequently asked to actively participate in both formal, and informal, Post Incident Analysis meetings.Chiefs and firefighters can never thank the team enough for all of their efforts and support.

Coral Springs/Parkland CERT is regularly called upon to help search for missing persons that may be in danger. This includes children, teens or adults with disabilities, or seniors with cognitive impairments. CERT has been credited with dozens of successful searches over the years.

Coral Springs offers monthly training for its members on topics ranging from reviews of basic training topics to advanced topics and useful skills. Training topics include active shooter training, communicating with people with disabilities and pet first aid.The team has also brought in guest speakers from members of the USAR team, the National Weather Service, and others. The primary goal of all training is safety, safety, safety. The team believes that keeping members active and educated, leads to increased member retention.

Coral Springs hosts several regional basic training classes per year. Residents from all surrounding communities are invited to attend the training. Once they have completed the training, they can take their skills back to their home city and join their local team.

Team leadership regularly networks with other CERT leaders from across the area to build a cohesive mutual aid relationship and share ideas among teams. These relationships allow any team to respond when another city or team is in need.This has led to teams, from across the county, coming together to search for missing people, or providing canteen/rehab support at fire scenes.

Team leadership worked with the fire department to re-purpose vehicles that were being taken out of service to be utilized as CERT response vehicles. A retired FD suburban is used as a CERT command vehicle, and can be used to pull the CERT equipment trailer. A retired rescue is used as the canteen/rehab response vehicle.Coral Springs was the first team in South Florida to have these types of vehicles.Coral Springs is also one of the first teams in the area to have its own UHF radio system used exclusively for CERT activities.

Coral Springs/Parkland CERT regularly assists other teams with suggestions on how to build their teams and grow, and answering any questions they have.Teams from around the state have contacted team leadership for input and suggestions, making CS CERT a Role model for other teams.

In 2016, Coral Springs/Parkland CERT, as a team, received an Honorable Mention for the Lynne Johnson Award for outstanding dedication to enhancing City services, the highest volunteer recognition award in the City of Coral Springs.

In 2016, the team implemented a state of the art web site used to educate the public, promote the team, promote upcoming events and training, and is a portal for team members to access team related news and activities.

In November, Coral Springs will host the 2016 Florida Safety Fest. This is a large, countywide fundraising event for the CERT teams across Broward County.Teams from around the county are planning the event and think it will be a huge success.

Because of the continued growth and success of Coral Springs/Parkland CERT, its leadership role in the community, and its steadfast commitment to helping others, the Coral Springs/Parkland Community Emergency Response Team is proud to be selected as the 2016 Florida CERT Association CERT Team of the Year.

Coral Springs CERT named Team of the Year for the State of Florida.

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Comments 1

Sara Fernandez on Wednesday, 07 December 2016 05:33
We love our community

We are proud to be members of the Coral Springs community and even PROUDER that the leadership and dedication of the CERT members is recognized! HIP HIP HURRAH !!!

:) We are proud to be members of the Coral Springs community and even PROUDER that the leadership and dedication of the CERT members is recognized! HIP HIP HURRAH !!!
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