Members of Ferndale's new Community Emergency Response Team - or CERT - put their skills to work on Wednesday night for the first time since the team was formed as they responded to the severe thunderstorms that knocked down wires and left thousands in the area without power.
The CERT team has been training for the past several months to be prepared to assist in events like storms, downed wires or even large community events where extra emergency personnel is needed.
Ferndale Fire Marshal Brian Batten activated the team late Wednesday, as Fire Chief Kevin Sullivan was out of town.
"It's the first time the CERT team has been activated," Batten said. "Four people came in last night and we were able to open up the Kulick Center as a cooling center. That was important."
Batten said storms hit the area hard, leaving behind multiple downed wires.
"Last night we were hit pretty hard in Oakland County here, and Ferndale specifically got a pretty good whack," he said. "We have multiple lines down, some very severe hazards."
The CERT team has also worked to assist senior citizens who could be at risk of heat exhaustion.
"We just want everybody to be very cautious out there," he said.
Batten offers these tips for staying safe:
- Anyone who sees a downed wire that may not have been reported yet should call 911.
- Residents should stay clear of wires that are blocked off. "It's very important they understand that these wires are charged," Batten said. "Electricity could still be there and it's very dangerous."
- Be very cautious outside, and don't let pets out in the backyard if there's a wire down.
- Go to the Kulick Center if needed - it is open 24/7 until further notice as a cooling center. Cots, blankets and water are available.
- If you know someone who is on a ventilator or who has medical needs, call the fire department and the CERT team will assist with transport to a hospital if needed.
- At intersections where traffic signals are out of power, treat these as a four-way stop.
For more information, call the Fire Department at 248-546-2512.