BEAR VALLEY SPRINGS, Calif. - A group of concerned citizens are helping keep the community safe by training each other on what to do during an emergency situation.
When first responders are not immediately available to help, members of the Community Emergency Response Team or CERT step in to provide aide to people who find themselves in any type of disaster.
Jake Anzulis is a retired army soldier who spends most of his time training to prepare to handle any emergency.
"I feel that I'm doing something that the community needs and it's a good way to be involved with people," he said.
Anzulis lives in Bear Valley Springs, a closed community where he says emergency response time for a major disaster like a wild fire or an earthquake may not be as quick as it would be in a big city.
"We know that we are going to be isolated. So, we have to be independent and we realize aide from anybody is not going to becoming for quite a while," said Anzulis.
The CERT program is part of FEMA and has teams set up in Tehachapi, Pine Valley, Rich Crest and the Kern River Valley. Volunteers support first responders.
"We have nurses who come to help and we just have all sorts of people from all backgrounds. I mean, especially we have a great hand network that helps support us," said Anzulis.
Retired police, firefighters and other military personnel also make up CERT. In Bear Valley, there are about 100 active volunteers with more than 700 people who have already been trained on disaster preparedness.
"First responders are going to be completely over-whelmed in an event of any kind, especially an earthquake and we can come out and your wearing our CERT vest. We're the symbol of authority and we're the ones who the other people are going to be looking to, and we may not know everything but we're going to try and do the best we can," he said.
CERT volunteers say area fire departments and even the Kern County Office of Emergency Services offer information on getting involved.
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