A fire breaks out in a condo building; A broken water pipe floods several floors; A resident collapses with a heart attack on the tennis court; An intruder roams the premises with criminal intent; A huge alligator settles in for a nap on the seventh tee of the community’s golf course. In every case, fire rescue and police personnel are summoned, and they rush to the scene. Until professional first responders arrive however, the situation is in the hands of the community’s on-premises staff and security providers. How does a concierge, doorman, maintenance worker, security guard or property manager learn to deal with such emergencies? In Florida, training is available from many sources.
Local emergency-management agencies offer free training for community staff and residents through their Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) programs. Some property-management companies have training programs for their clients’ staff. Other sources include non-profit organizations and for-profit companies that sell training classes, printed materials and videos.
Other sources include non-profit organizations and for-profit companies that sell training classes, printed materials and videos. The Suncoast Safety Council in Clearwater, a non-profit, offers many classes. Edward Maurer, Occupational Safety & Health Programs Director says those entitled “CPR; First Aid; Slips, Trips and Falls; and Fire Prevention” are relevant to condo and association staff, and that the Suncoast Safety Council also develops “customized classes depending on needs and concerns.”
Statewide, Florida has 125 CERT programs. For a complete list, visit www.citizencorps.fema.gov/cc/CertIndex.do?submitByState.
“We’ve trained about 750 people since 1998 from within the city of Boca Raton and the surrounding area. We don’t turn anybody away,” says Norm Engel, division chief, special operations for the Boca Raton Fire Rescue Service and Boca Raton’s CERT coordinator and lead instructor. Engel’s CERT classes meet three hours a week for nine weeks. The curriculum covers: