(Harris County, TX) – The Harris County Citizen Corps Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program has reached a milestone of 30,000 trained members with the graduation of its latest students from the East Aldine District and Humble. The final exercise and graduation will take place on Monday, October 30th at 7 p.m. at the Harris County Fire and Sheriff’s Training Academy, 2318 Atascocita Road in Humble, Texas.

The East Aldine District class is made up of 42 students from Benjamin O. Davis High School, ages 16 to 18. These students are also members of the Health Occupations Students of America and are avid volunteers in their community. The Humble class is composed of 21 students, mostly teachers, a nurse, a mother and son.

“The CERT program teaches skills that ultimately make our communities stronger and better prepared,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “These students’ commitment is admirable. They are showing great responsibility by preparing themselves and their families for emergencies.”

The program is a Harris County Citizen Corps initiative and is coordinated through the Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management. It is an extensive eight-week emergency preparedness course taught by emergency management professionals and first responders. The training makes students proficient in safety basics they can use in their homes, schools, workplace and communities.

“The Harris County Citizen Corps CERT program is one of the best in the nation, leading the way through dedicated volunteers,” added Judge Emmett. “These trained volunteers are, and will continue to be, essential partners in disaster preparedness, response and recovery.”

The CERT program teaches disaster preparedness and basic response skills in fire safety and suppression, search and rescue tactics, and disaster medical operations. CERT volunteers are trained to respond safely, responsibly, and effectively to emergency situations, but they can also support their communities during non-emergency events as well.

The Harris County Citizen Corps membership includes 30,000 trained volunteers involved in 274 Community Emergency Response Teams; 21,984 volunteers from 24 Volunteers in Police Service agencies; 4,165 volunteers from the Medical Reserve Corps; 6,137 volunteers from the 351 neighborhoods participating in the USAonWatch program; and 24 Fire Corps programs.

The CERT program’s success is due in large part to its partnership with the City of Houston, first responders, non-profit agencies, community organizations and all its volunteers.

To join Harris County Citizen Corps, or for more information about the CERT program go to harriscountycitizencorps.org. Harris County Citizen Corps news and updates are also available on Facebook.