New Marion team steps up in emergency situations

Feb 18, 2022

MARION — A group of residents has stepped forward to help fellow townspeople in emergency situations.

Members of the newly formed Community Emergency Response Team, also known as CERT, are in the process of being trained to assist in natural or man-made emergencies.

The team is expected to be officially ready to go in June, when the training sessions end.

Where they will go depends on what is happening in town.

A weather incident, for example, could bring them to the town shelter or warming sites to offer assistance. 

They could serve as another pair of hands at town events such as fireworks and parades.

Another important aspect of their work, Fire Chief Brian Jackvony said, is to serve as the “eyes and ears’’ of the town after a natural disaster. 

After flooding, for example, or other weather incidents, they might be sent out to officially document the damage, which is then reported to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, also known as FEMA, for potential reimbursement. 

That is a “vital role’’ to perform, Jackvony said. The key, he said, is not only to learn how to document the damage but to do it safely. 

In all of these cases, they serve as “invaluable assets to first responders’’ as well as to the general community, Jackvony said. 

Their responsibilities could also include distributing supplies, including covid-related material, administrative and logistical tasks and traffic control. 

The group replaces the town’s Medical Reserve Corps, which had consisted of medically trained personnel who helped out in a public health crisis. Marion decided to change the group’s name and make-up to expand membership.

Some members of the Medical Reserve Corps have transitioned to this new group.

Members of the Community Emergency Response Team are not required to have medical training. What they need to have, Jackvony stressed, is a willingness to serve.

“We provide training,’’ he said. “All they have to bring is whatever life experiences they have.’’

What makes CERT appealing, Jackvony noted, is the diverse skills group members have, which allows them to serve the community in varied ways. 

Jackvony said he has heard positive feedback from group members who are currently undergoing the training.

Those involved have “expressed a desire to be part of the solution when there’s a problem going on,’’ Jackvony said. 

“We’re very grateful to all the volunteers that signed up and stepped forward to help their neighbors in their potential time of need,’’ Police Chief Richard Nighelli said. 

Team members, the police chief said, will “gain valuable skills and knowledge in areas of emergency planning and disaster response.’’

To learn more about CERT membership, which is not limited to Marion residents, email Chief Jackvony at or call 508-748-3596.