Students training for Mercer County’s Community Emergency Response Team graduated April 13 at Dempster Fire Training Academy in Lawrence.

In the program, volunteers learn superlative communication skills and emergency management and rescue equipment usage. CERT members assist emergency management personnel and law enforcement officers with operations, like flood remediation and search and rescue missions.

During the ceremony, Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes congratulated 23 graduates on their accomplishments and thanked them for their commitment to emergency public safety efforts in Mercer County.

Graduates are Dave P. Paulick and Nancy A. Paulick of Allentown, Albert P. Grupper and Peter Horne of East Windsor, Henry Y. Hwang of Edison, Eden M. McConnell and Jennifer J. Metzger of Hamilton, Steven Foley and Skye Gilmartin of Hightstown, Lukasz Gargas of Lawrence, Jo Ann Marie Hager, Frank N. Hujber Jr., and Donna Povia of Mercerville, Vivian Tudela of Monmouth Junction, Todd Kane of Plainsboro, Michael Connors, Steve Kolock and Darryl Kurland of Princeton, Kathleen M. Kaluzny, Lisa M. Lescouflair and Edward R. Squibb of Trenton, Cedric Ashley of West Windsor and Eugene W. Pribila of Yardville.

The county’s CERT now totals more than 325 volunteers.

The concept of CERT was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department in 1985.

CERT members in Mercer County receive nine classroom training sessions followed by a final day of practical training at the Fire School. Tuition and supplies are provided through the State and County Homeland Security Grant programs.

Mercer County offers the course through a partnership with Mercer County Community College and Office of Emergency Management.