Photo by Bob Oliver
Members of the United Arab Emeritas’ Community Emergency Response Team listen as they are greeted by city officials and local CERT members Dec. 10 at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center. The UAE team is visiting Dearborn for a weeklong session of advanced CERT training where they will work on emergency situations such as crowd control, automobile accidents and many others.
By BOB OLIVER
DEARBORN – Members of the United Arab Emirates’ Community Emergency Response Team received a cold response from the weather but not from the city when they visited for advanced training last week.
A group of 13 UAE CERT volunteers were here from Monday to Friday running through training drills over a variety of situations including downed power lines, animal control, traffic control and how to respond to automobile accidents.
The team members were representatives of the entire CERT program in the UAE, which has around 4,000 members.
“We’re here to learn more with the support of all of you,” UAE CERT Program Manager Khaled Al Tenaji said. “This is an excellent opportunity to train and learn with the best.”
Al Tenaji said members of the UAE CERT team helped in the relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Sandy last year and they also have responded to emergency situations in Bahrain, Pakistan and Jordan.
UAE CERT Team Leader Rola Hassan said it was exciting to come here to train because the skills would go back to the UAE with the team and could then be used to train other teams on how to handle a variety of situations.
“We really train hard and want to be prepared to handle any situation,” Hassan said. “We may not be the first line of defense, but we can be a tremendous help in emergency situations.”
Mayor John O’Reilly Jr., who gave the opening remarks at a meeting between the UAE and Dearborn teams, was presented with a trophy of appreciation for his efforts with CERT by Al Tenaji and other members of the UAE team.
The Dearborn CERT team has about 450 volunteers who assist with everything from emergency situations to community events that need extra help, such as Homecoming during the summer.
They were selected as the most outstanding CERT program in the state in 2012.
Dearborn Fire Capt. Brad Smith, CERT coordinator and Emergency Management coordinator — said it was a “blessing” to have the UAE team visit the city and that the training would be serious, but it would also be fun to speak more with the team and interact with them.
Fire Chief Joseph Murray also welcomed the team and told them the department and firefighters would be available for questions if needed.
He said the work completed together by the CERT teams from both countries has been beneficial for many communities.
“It’s been a great partnership since 2009,” Murray said. “I hope we can continue to grow this.”
Members of the Dearborn CERT team traveled to the UAE to assist in training in 2009 and 2010.
(Bob Oliver can be reached at [email protected])