LANSING., Mich. (WLNS) — A 30-hour program is being offered to train the everyday individual how to respond to an emergency.

The Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) program in Lansing, is a team of volunteers that assists with emergency management during and after disasters.

They take the burden off first responders, like police and firefighters.

On February 14, the team will train other community members to do the same.

According to William Engelter, Chief of Emergency Management for the City of Lansing, the training covers everything from how to turn off utilities to how to organize search parties.

“As first responders, after a disaster, we are very overwhelmed trying to get to all disaster locations and our C.E.R.T team acts as a force multiplier they are able to go out and do some of the tasks to free us up to take care of the larger incidents,” Engelter said.

Engelter said that weather-related issues are the biggest disasters in Lansing.

The Capital Area that they respond to has a lot of ice storms and flooding.

Paul Dykema, a retiree from the city of Lansing, now volunteers for C.E.R.T. and said that the gas shut-off wrench is used a lot for weather-related incidents.

“You can get it at the local hardware to turn off the water supply to the house to the valve and you can turn out the gas supply to the house, and if you need to pry something it’s kind of got a little corner and it can help with light search and rescue which were also trained in,” Dykema said.

One safety situation that is demonstrated during the C.E.R.T. training is a rescue technique referred to as “basic triage.”

First, they will scan the body for injuries and once they find anything wrong, they take action.

Engelter said that people are not necessarily taking the C.E.R.T program to join the team, they are taking the program to be able to do what the team does- which helps individuals during a disaster- if an emergency situation does occur in life.

Everyone is welcome into the program, and no experience is required.

Former firefighters and first responders have gotten their certification, but so have individuals with office jobs.

Engelter said the background of the person doesn’t matter.

“It is a stressful time immediately following a disaster, but we train people on how to deal with those emotions,” continued Engleter. “We do cover disaster first aid and disaster psychology and we find that by warning people ahead of time and giving them education and training on what they might experience is the key to them being more prepared to respond.”