Jul 30, 2009

The Port Richmond Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

The Port Richmond Community Emergency Response Team is an active, commercially insured, I.R.S. volunteer 501(c)3 team based on Staten Island. Since October 2005, the team has amassed over 25,000 hours of community service. Port Richmond CERT is a NYC Office of Emergency Management CERT trained in Incident Command System, Lite Urban Search and Rescue, Fire Suppression, Triage, Traffic Control, Radio Communications and Urban Emergency Preparedness.

Inform their neighbors about disaster preparedness
Assist public safety agencies and local community boards with public events
Respond to local disasters in accordance with CERT protocols and support emergency personnel upon their arrival and request
Assist agencies in managing spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site
Participate in community outreach opportunities.

Members of the team meet regularly and conduct periodic emergency response drills in order to be a resource to our local emergency first responders, community boards, medical institutions, and others. Team Instructors utilize hands-on training, emergency management self-study courses, and guest instructors in order to promote citizen awareness and preparedness. Port Richmond CERT has participated in community events, operational exercises, search and rescue deployments, and as a resource to emergency responders.

John Tidona, Team Chief
Port Richmond CERT

Heat exhaustion: This condition often occurs when people exercise (work or play) in a hot, humid place and body fluids are lost through sweating, causing the body to overheat. The person's temperature may be elevated, but not above 104°F.
Heat exhaustion is typically caused when people who are not well adjusted to heat exercise in a hot, humid environment.
• At high temperatures, the body cools itself largely through evaporation of sweat.
• When it is very humid, this mechanism does not work properly.
• The body loses a combination of fluids and salts (electrolytes).
• When this is accompanied by an inadequate replacement of fluids, disturbances in the circulation may result that are similar to a mild form of shock.
For mild cases of heat exhaustion
• Rest in a cool, shaded area.
• Give cool fluids such as water or sports drinks (that will replace the salt that has been lost). Salty snacks are appropriate as tolerated.
• Loosen or remove clothing.
• Apply cool water to skin.
• Do not use an alcohol rub.
• Do not give any beverages containing alcohol or caffeine.
Heat stroke: This medical condition is life-threatening. The person's cooling system, which is controlled by the brain, stops working and the internal body temperature rises to the point where brain damage or damage to other internal organs may result (temperature may reach 105+°F).
Heat stroke may often develop rapidly.
• Medical conditions or medications that impair the body's ability to sweat may predispose people to this problem.
• Heat stroke happens in the following two ways:
o The classic form occurs in people whose cooling mechanisms are impaired.
o The exertional form occurs in previously healthy people who are undergoing strenuous activity in a hot environment.

• Infants and the elderly are more likely to have this problem, as are those who are taking antihistamines and certain types of medication for high blood pressure or depression.

Call 911 immediately
• Move the person to a cooler environment, or place him or her in a cool bath of water (as long as he or she is conscious and can be attended continuously).
• Alternatively, moisten the skin with lukewarm water and use a fan to blow cool air across the skin.
• Give cool beverages by mouth only if the person has a normal mental state and can tolerate it.


  1. The Staten Island community is fortunate to have such a well-trained group of dedicated volunteers known as Port Richmond CERT. Led by a very capable team chief, they are truly an asset to our Island!


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