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Weston Launches New Emergency Team

WESTON, Conn. – Weston’s new Community Emergency Response Team will get in on the action May 2 at a hurricane exercise at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport.

“We’ll give out vaccinations and public information and assist the Westport Fire Department and state forces,” said Mike Vincelli, the Weston CERT team leader.

Weston’s team joins 60 other state chapters that assist town police and other first responders in emergencies and offer education about disaster preparedness.

“The group will assist with any type of emergency,” Vincelli said. “When trees come down, we take care of traffic control. When emergency shelters open up, we can hand out food and medicine. And we can rescue missing hikers in Devil’s Den park.”

Weston CERT will specialize in wilderness area search-and-rescue operations, weather emergencies and community events, including the Memorial Day Parade, he said.

“CERT gives us another branch to assist the police department, the volunteer fire department and EMS," said Joseph Miceli, a Weston police officer and the town’s acting emergency management director. "They’re dedicated with a lot of enthusiasm and a nice asset to have when our forces are maxed out.”

The town of Weston has 14 police officers and brought in outside help when Hurricane Irene struck last August.

CERT is federally funded through the Citizen Corps, which was set up after Sept. 11 to support local agencies. The group’s budget hasn’t been determined yet, Vincelli said.

At the group’s first meeting Tuesday night, Vincelli discussed the required training. Applicants must pass three online tests before they can respond to emergencies. About 10 CERT members attended the meeting. Vincelli said he hopes to recruit a total of 20 to 25 by the end of the year.

Contact Mike Vincelli via email for more information about joining.

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