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Brandon CERT team honored by township

April 06, 2011 - Brandon Twp.- The helpers need help.

The Brandon Community Emergency Response Team was honored at the township board meeting April 4 as part of Volunteer Recognition Month.

The team, comprised of 35 township residents, offers assistance to the fire department and community in a variety of ways. They provide traffic control during events such as CreekFest, Septemberfest, Halloween and Christmas in the Village. Teammembers check on senior citizens during power outages and extreme weather and also guard downed powerlines. CERT even gives support to firefighters during major fires.

"We provide rehab services for firefighters," explains CERT Leader Lee Stewart. "When they come out of a fire, we get them out of their gear, get them rehydrated, check their blood pressure and pulse, and make sure they are getting back to normal before they go back into a fire. We go when the Chief calls us out."

Fire Chief Dave Kwapis calls the services that CERT provides "absolutely essential."

CERT was established in the township in 2005, under a federal grant, but is now entirely self-funded. The fire department has loaned the team an old ambulance, which is used to transport equipment to the various sites CERT works. The group has a long-term goal of raising $75,000-$100,000 to buy a new chassis and transfer the ambulance box to it. They are seeking grant aid for this, but a more immediate, less expensive need is protective gear for the team.

"We need to raise $4,000 to buy protective clothing— a waterproof jacket and parka system," said Stewart. "We need high visibility safety clothes and vests— uniform equipment so people can see we're working under police or fire authority. All we have right now is sweatshirts and nylon windbreakers, which is not effective in winter when we check on senior citizens and patrol Christmas in the Village. We want to raise this money by fall so we have it on hand for the coming winter."

CERT will be hosting a series of dinners to raise the money, with the first, a turkey dinner 'with all the fixin's,' planned for 5-7 p.m., April 15, at the Ortonville United Methoidst Church, 93 Church St., Ortonville. Cost is $8 per person, $5 for children 10 and under. Details: BFD, 248-627-4000 or Lee Stewart at 248-627-3324.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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