Emergency Response Team Provides Help to Vets & Military Families

CHATHAM – Volunteers with the Brewster, Orleans, Chatham, and Harwich Community Emergency Response Team have delivered food and supplies to veterans, military personnel, and families to support COVID-19 operations on Cape Cod.

The Massachusetts Military Support Foundation collected and prepared the supplies and asked the response team, referred to as BOCH CERT, to assist with distribution of 100 boxes.

The relief boxes included non-perishable items such as rice, canned fruit, vegetables, and pasta.

The boxes also contained recipes for the food provided and should sustain a family of four with 10-14 days of meals.

“The importance of organized volunteer groups in times of need and when there is a crisis in a community is essential,” said David Miller, BOCH CERT Director.

The all-volunteer response team was activated last month by the Town of Chatham Emergency Operations Center to assist during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Organized groups like the BOCH Community emergency Response Team reduce the work-load for already thinly stretched first responders and provides them an opportunity to prioritize the myriad of missions at hand,” said Chatham Fire Chief Peter Connick.

“The BOCH CERT has gone above and beyond in the call of duty and the four towns are thrilled to know we have assistance for these other missions that need to be performed while ensuring first responders are able to meet the higher priority calls.”

The CERT program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as sheltering operations, search and rescue, disaster medical triage operations, and needs of the community.

Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, BOCH CERT members assist other citizens following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help.

“The team has undergone extensive training and qualifications to respond to a local crisis,” continued Miller.

Much of CERT training is provided by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, and local emergency services.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of the CERT team for their town should contact the local Emergency Manager/ Fire Department for training schedules and additional information on CERT Training.

About Luke Leitner

Luke Leitner grew up in Watertown Massachusetts and now lives in West Yarmouth on the Cape. He has been a part of the news team in the CapeCod.com News Center since the spring of 2019. He studied business communications at Western New England University.

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