Pictured is Sparta's Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) at a Newark symposium. (Photo provided).
ANDOVER TOWNSHIP - Residents are stepping up to volunteer their time after spotting recent articles stating that Andover Township is starting an emergency response team composed of residents. The resolution that resulted in the Township starting a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), was passed at the Feb. 7, 2019, Committee meeting. Andover Township Mayor Dolores Blackburn said that resident Linda Grinthal brought the idea to Chief Eric Danielson, who also serves as the Andover Township Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Coordinator. "The Chief then discussed it with the Township Administrator and myself, before bringing to the Committee," Mayor Blackburn said. The Mayor and the Chief were glad to hear Grinthal's suggestion, and glad to see her, specifically, as the person who would move the endeavor forward, under the Chief's leadership. "Linda brings years of experience in marketing, recruiting and management, plus her dedication and involvement in the County and Sparta CERT programs," the mayor said. "We are grateful for her willingness to volunteer to coordinate the establishment of an Andover CERT. Grinthal has been serving as part of Sparta's CERT, since Andover Township did not have CERT, prior to now. She's looking forward to getting started in her hometown, and so far the response has been great. But more volunteers are needed. "I have submitted 12 completed applications to Chief Danielson and am awaiting over 20 more that are pending completion," Grinthal said. "There will be some groups banding together to join, such as The Tree of Health Center staff." She's also contacted some local companies to see if they want to have a group of employees trained in disaster preparedness in Andover Township's first class. "There will be a minimum of 15 in that class, hopefully many more," she said. "That is a good sized class." It's estimated that training dates would be mid-April to early May. CERT is a national program with almost 2,000 teams. Local CERTs exist in; Sussex County, as well as Sparta, Hopatcong, Green Twp and Stillwater. Now Andover will officially have CERT as well. Any Township resident wishing to volunteer will receive a free 21-hour Disaster Preparedeness Class. Interested residents are asked to contact Linda Grinthal at LSG2@PTD.net.