From fires to health scares to severe storms, emergencies can occur at any time and being prepared is key. Arlington County is offering free classes to train residents how to help themselves and others if an emergency occurs.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training began 10 years ago in Arlington and 575 residents have completed the program in that time. The hands-on training covers topics such as disaster preparedness, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, team organization, disaster psychology, fire suppression and terrorism.
One example of what CERT members do was evident last June during the derecho. Members assisted the community in various capacities immediately following the storm, often as points of contact when calls weren’t getting through to 911.
“We had people strategically posted at fire stations to dispatch the right help to where it was needed,” said Arlington County Office of Emergency Management Director Jack Brown. “The community response teams, CERT, they really stepped up to the plate.”
There are two training sessions scheduled for next month, one beginning on March 7 and the other on March 12. Each session includes eight classes which will meet on six weeknights and two Saturdays. All classes meet at the Arlington County Fire Department Training Academy in Shirlington and are taught by ACFD and Office of Emergency Management staff, as well as active duty CERT members.
Advance registration is required to participate in the classes, and there are still some spots left for the March training. Those interested should email the program’s volunteer coordinator, Cynthia Kellams, at ArlingtonCERT@gmail.com. Participants must be Arlington residents who are at least 18 years old.
Coming up with ideas for things to do throughout the summer isn’t always easy. But the Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation has hundreds of classes available, and registration opens tomorrow, May 23.
Examples of active kids’ classes are swimming and tennis, creative classes include music and theater, and crafty classes include woodworking and ceramics. A wide range of activities is also available to adults, including knitting, various sports and gardening.
Although registration forms can also be mailed and faxed starting tomorrow at 8:00 a.m., and phoned or carried in starting on May 30, online registration is recommended to expedite the process.
Registration for those who are not residents of Arlington begins on June 6.
The course aims to address the unique needs women face with money management. Some of the topics covered include budgeting, insurance basics and investing.
“The premise of the program is that women have unique financial needs,” said Virginia Cooperative Extension Financial Counselor Jennifer Abel. “Women are more likely to leave the workforce to care for young children and the elderly. On average, they have lower life earnings and yet they live longer than men.”
Abel will teach the first session and bring in other certified financial planners for the following weeks.
The classes start on January 25 and run every Wednesday until February 22, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. There is an optional $25 fee for attendees who would like to purchase class materials. To register, email email@example.com or call 703-228-6417.
Registration for winter parks and recreation classes, popular with school-aged children, opened at 8:00 a.m. The registration website was beset by technical problems within 5 minutes of the opening, but was back up and working by 8:15 a.m., according to Arlington Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources spokeswoman Susan Kalish.
Even though the problems lasted less than 15 minutes, some parents — who rushed to register their children for classes before the classes filled up — weren’t pleased. Similar technical problems have plagued the class registration system in the past.
“Server crashes have happened repeatedly on the morning of class signup — to the frustration of parents across Arlington trying to sign their kids up for classes,” one parent told ARLnow.com.
Another tipster said that the timing of the registration opening — around the same time that kids are getting ready for school — has made things unnecessarily difficult for parents.
“The problem is that some of the classes fill up so fast and if you can’t get through by the time you do someone else has your class and you are wait listed,” the parent said. “Also try working on this with kids running around trying to get ready for school and climbing on you. Not easy. This happens every registration.”
Another source of frustration for some: this year’s class schedule erroneously listed the registration date as “Wednesday, Dec. 13.”
Kalish said the parks department is working with its technology vendor to identify the source of this morning’s problems. Despite the fact that online registration number have “increased significantly over the past few years,” Kalish said server capacity was likely not the culprit this year.
“In the past, the registration volume in the first 10-15 minutes of registration has taxed our servers,” Kalish said. “We addressed that issue prior to this registration cycle and our servers functioned well and were not at capacity this morning. We are working with the vendor to explore what else could be contributing to this issue.”
Kalish said today is one of the busiest days for class registration, though the first day of summer camp registration is usually the busiest.
Want to learn how to help your neighbors, co-workers or family in an emergency? If so, Arlington will be offering free emergency response training in March.
The training is part of the county’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program.
Recent news and weather headlines illustrate the importance of being prepared for and able to respond to all kinds of emergencies. That’s what Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training is all about. This eight-session course, sponsored by the Arlington County Citizen Corps Council, Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Fire Department (ACFD), covers disaster preparedness, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, team organization, disaster psychology, fire suppression and terrorism. It follows a FEMA/DHS curriculum being used around the globe.
To-date, over 480 individuals have completed CERT training in Arlington County. It is open to Arlington residents – and those who work in the County but reside elsewhere — who are at least 18 years of age (16 if accompanied by at least one parent) and able to participate in all aspects of the training, some of which requires lifting and carrying. The training is free, but participants are expected to acquire certain supplies themselves, many of which you probably already have on-hand. All classes meet at the Arlington County Fire Department (ACFD) Training Academy in Shirlington and are taught by ACFD and OEM staff and CERT members. Neighboring jurisdictions also offer CERT training for their residents.
Some complete this training simply to be safer in their own homes and workplaces. Others choose to complete additional requirements necessary to become active members of neighborhood teams trained to assist in major disasters. All help make Arlington County a safer place to live, work and play!
Spring CERT classes are scheduled to begin on March 16 and 22 and there are seats available in both that will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Advance registration is required. If you’d like additional information or would like to sign up, please contact the program’s volunteer coordinator, Cynthia Kellams, at ArlingtonCERT@aol.com.
Want to do more with your free time this winter? Tired of spending the cold weather months hibernating in your house or apartment with nothing productive to do?
Arlington’s parks and rec department has released its latest course catalog, with more than 250 options for exercising the mind and body.
New classes this term include:
- A Broadway Fitness class at the Madison Community Center
- Boxing 101 at the Barcroft Sports Center
- A “Flirty Girl Fitness” class, utilizing “the hottest dance moves, from the club scene to exotic dancing,” at the Barcroft Sports Center
- An advanced robotics course for ages 7-15 at the Madison Community Center
- A birdhouse building class at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center
- A voice training class at the Walter Reed Community Center
Online registration begins on Dec. 14. Find more information on the classes and the registration process here.
Now, DC’s top gay and lesbian (and “straight-friendly”) square dancing club is offering lessons in Arlington. On Saturdays starting on Oct. 9, the DC Lambda Squares club will teach you the fine art of spinning one’s partner round and round.
It’s a beginners class, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Lessons run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break. A total of four classes will be held, on Oct. 9, 16, 30 and on Nov.6.
The classes are taught in the party room of the Barkley Condominiums at 1016 S. Wayne Street.
The $155 class fee covers club membership for a year and free registration for the Harvest Festival Hoedown, held from Nov. 12-14 in York, Pa.
For those who want to take the next step, plus-level classes will start on Nov. 20.
Anyone interested should email membership[at]dclambdasquares.org.
Photo via DC Lambda Squares
Do you have kids? Do they like robots? Of course they do, what kid doesn’t like robots. Let’s face it, those Transformer movies didn’t make millions of dollars off of Megan Fox Austin Green’s looks alone.
So it stands to reason that your kids would probably be thrilled to see some real-life robots in action this weekend. Good news: Anthony Nunez of local research firm Infamous Robotics is hosting a robot demonstration from noon to 2:00 p.m. Saturday at Central Library (1015 N. Quincy St.).
If you know a 7 to 12 year old who wants to get even more hands-on with robots, Nunez also teaches a Robots 101 class through the Arlington County Parks Department.
The next class is on Wednesday, Sept. 22. The class will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Madison Community Center (3829 N. Stafford St.).
“This introduction to robotics will help your child determine the two types of robots, important basic mechanical/electrical/software terms and concepts, how to use magnets in robot, common types of motors used in small robots and how to choose one, and ways to modify or use existing motors,” the class description reads. “Learn the initial steps needed to begin programming (algorithm, flow chart) and key electrical components. The class will discuss robots in foreign environments and challenges that occur, several common sensors and their applications, and what responsibilities a robotic engineer (electrical, mechanical and software).”
Once again, this class is for (smart) 7 to 12 year olds.