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SJI fire department MERT squad poised for response
Neighbors helping neighbors in the event of a major emergency is what San Juan Island Fire & Rescue's newly former Major Emergency Response Team is all about.
The MERT program went into effect June 1.
Here's how it works:
Stationed at various neighborhood fire stations across the island, members of the MERT squad will help keep track of those who live in their area, document injuries and property damage so that when emergency services personnel arrive they are able to provide an accurate assessment of conditions in their respective neighborhoods. The information is expected to save time and resources for EMS and fire response teams.
MERT members will also assemble a tack-board on which residents can leave messages for family or friends; a "MERT on duty" sign will advise neighbors when a volunteer is present. MERT volunteers have been trained in disaster preparedness and attend a yearly class to stay informed about developments in the emergency assistance. The program was created by Ron Garner, a longtime veteran of the San Juan Island Fire Department, who also helped to institute the department's Neighborhood Firewise program.
For more information, 378-5334, www.sjifire.org/