A Chandler training course designed to give residents the tools they need to help each other in times of disaster has experienced record-low attendance and will likely be canceled this session.
But city staff said the Chandler Fire Department’s Community Emergency Response Team will resume classes in September, and program operators remain hopeful that enrollment will pick up then.
The classes started after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and has more than 350
people certified through the program.
“After Sept. 11, people were highly interested in the program because they wanted to protect themselves and their families from tragedies and terrorist attacks,” said Loretta Warren-Ellis, community preparedness program coordinator for Chandler.
“The program has a very strong reputation and is successful, but people are not as enthusiastic now.”
Warren-Ellis said the city has to work harder to get residents interested in enrolling.
The seven-week program provides free training on preparedness, fire suppression and medical operations.
“It is important for members of the community to go through this training because people will have to rely on each other for help in order to meet their immediate life-saving needs in times of disaster before professionals can arrive,” she said. “The training is not only helpful in huge disasters but also in everyday life.”
The program has put the word out through television spots, utility bills, homeowners associations and community outreach events, Warren-Ellis said.
“We are working every angle we can think of,” she said.
Warren-Ellis said the city’s goal is to have at least one person in every household certified with the Community Emergency Response Team.