Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Community Emergency Response Team forms to help eastern Hillsborough

Steve Novitske and Gary Martin practice a fire extinguisher technique as Division Chief Phil Armiger of Temple Terrace Fire Rescue supervises the CERT training exercise at St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church in Bloomingdale recently.

Photo courtesy of Dave Watkins, CERT

Steve Novitske and Gary Martin practice a fire extinguisher technique as Division Chief Phil Armiger of Temple Terrace Fire Rescue supervises the CERT training exercise at St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church in Bloomingdale recently.

BLOOMINGDALE

Don Maidlow tears up when he thinks of the devastation he witnessed more than 20 years ago, after a tornado hit in Huntsville, Ala.

Maidlow, a police officer at the time, remembers how the twister ripped off a corner of an apartment building. The tenants inside died, yet the rest of the building remained intact.

"You see something like that, and it tears you apart," Maidlow, 66, said. "You want to do something to help."

Maidlow's dedication to serving those affected by disaster continues today. He recently formed a Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, to serve Riverview, Bloomingdale and other areas of eastern Hillsborough County.

CERT members are trained to help fire, police and medical crews during natural disasters and terrorist attacks. There are 3,500 CERT groups throughout the United States and 75 operating in Florida, Maidlow said.

The volunteer-run programs fall under an umbrella of Homeland Security projects formed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Each team must follow Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines and be sponsored by local government.

Maidlow, a retiree living in Riverview, was part of the Greater Tampa Area CERT sponsored by the city of Tampa. He wanted to focus more on eastern Hillsborough, so he set out to form a CERT backed by the county.

He recruited people from his church, St. Andrew's United Methodist in Brandon, and others.

The 16 men and women spent four consecutive Saturdays in April training with Temple Terrace Fire and Rescue Division Chief Phil Armiger, who serves a CERT in Temple Terrace.

Maidlow and his team practiced CPR, first aid and traffic-control. They learned to respond to fires and help burn victims.

Each new CERT member brings expertise to the team, Maidlow said. "These are people that are ready to put what they learn into action."

• • •

Dave Watkins, 63, is an amateur radio operator and a Verizon 911 dispatch engineer. He ran a makeshift radio station out of Brandon High School when a cluster of storms hit Florida in the early 1980s.

If he needed to do it again, he would. CERT gives him the opportunity to help in other ways, too.

"This is local people helping local people," he said. "When folks are in need, the normal social barriers go down. It's about community."

Maidlow said everyone involved with CERT hopes a disaster never comes, but his group aims to spread awareness about disaster preparedness.

A continuous weather tracker appears on the group's website, bloomingdaleriverviewcert.homestead.com, and the group will distribute information packets at a fundraiser July 31 before and after services at St. Andrew's.

At the fundraiser, where CERT plans to raise money for equipment and training, Maidlow hopes to recruit more volunteers. The team is open to anyone 18 or older. Participants must commit to a four-week training program, but no further commitment is required.

"We need people ready to act if the time comes," Maidlow said. "You never know when something can happen."

Sarah Whitman can be reached at swhitman@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2439.

Community Emergency Response Team forms to help eastern Hillsborough 07/21/11 [Last modified: Thursday, July 21, 2011 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trigaux: How Moffitt Cancer's M2Gen startup won $75 million from Hearst

    Business

    TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.

    Richard P. Malloch is the president of Hearst Business Media, which is announcing a $75 million investment in M2Gen, the for-profit cancer informatics unit spun off by Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center. Malloch's job is to find innovative investments for the Hearst family fortune. A substantial amount has been invested in health care, financial and the transportation and logistics industries.
  2. A boat lays on its side off the shore of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, after the passing of Hurricane Maria. [Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte | Associated Press]
  3. 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 149, collapses buildings in Mexico

    World

    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 149 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

    A woman is lifted on a stretcher from of a building that collapsed during an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]
  4. FHP seeks semitrailer truck driver that left fiery wreck on I-75

    Accidents

    TAMPA — The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an Interstate 75 crash that left another car burning on Tuesday afternoon.

    Troopers were looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an accident scene on Interstate 75 in Tampa on Tuesday afternoon that caused a car to catch fire. [Courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
  5. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.