Training for Fairfield's Community Emergency Response Team will begin next month, sponsored by the Office of Emergency Management and the Fairfield Citizen Corps Council.

The team is a program of the Citizen Corps, supported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the state Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Training focuses on disaster preparedness and emergency response skills, as well as special training to aid in sheltering in order to support local emergency responders with disaster relief and community safety.

In the past, the Fairfield CERT staffed the evacuation shelter at Fairfield Ludlowe High School when residents were evacuated from their homes due to a tanker truck fire on Interstate 95, and again after a fire at a local condominium complex. Most recently, they were called to manage a shelter for people and pets at Ludlowe following Tropical Storm Irene and the October snowstorm last year.

Classes include disaster preparedness, fire safety, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, CERT organization, disaster psychology, terrorism and pet sheltering.

The training begins March 3 and all classes are held Saturday mornings at the Fire Training Center on One Rod Highway. Graduates will be given a certificate, and those who join the CERT team will be issued CERT identification and a backpack with basic team equipment.

Class size is limited and team members must be 18 years old and over. For more information and registration forms, contact Norma Peterson, coordinator, at citizencorps@optonline.net or 203-255-3554. Registration forms are also available at Fire Department headquarters, 140 Reef Road.