BETHEL -- Picture a huge multi-structure fire. Temperatures at the scene are reaching 95 degrees and higher.

First responders -- firefighters, emergency medical personnel and police officers -- need cool towels and fluids.

"This is a great way for CERT to be deployed. They could set up a canteen," Tom Galliford , Bethel's fire marshal and emergency management director, said in an interview Tuesday that included three other Bethel residents.

The four men -- Galliford and Larry Craybas , Doug Hartline and Jim Mangi -- are the core of Bethel's first Community Emergency Response Team, better known as CERT.

Craybas, Hartline and Mangi trained with Redding's CERT, which was formed in 2006.

Sharon Mazzochi , a CERT trainer for the Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security
, said more than 30 percent of the state's municipalities have CERTs.

The purpose of CERTs, she said, "is to train citizens to take a more active role in personal and public safety."

Mazzochi praised Bethel for forming a CERT. "I think it's a tremendous idea and necessary. It shows Bethel (wants) to be prepared in case of emergency."

For CERT to be successful here, however, volunteers are needed, Galliford said. That's why an open house information session is set for Dec. 10 at the Stony Hill Fire Department .

"We're hoping for a lot of people to come," he said, "and find out how they can help themselves and others in the community."

Though major disasters in Bethel are "few and far between," Gallliford said, when they occur "they are consuming" and require a lot of manpower.

Bethel CERT volunteer Craybas pointed out that in a major emergency, people who want to help must know what they're doing. "You need people with some training or you could have mass confusion."

CERT volunteers will be trained in a number of emergency areas, including fire safety, first aid, and light search and rescue. Twenty hours of classes, offered at night and on Saturdays, will probably start in January.

"It wets the whistle for emergency response," Hartline said about being a CERT volunteer.

Hartline is Redding's sanitarian and two years ago helped to set up that town's CERT.

He said some of Redding's CERT volunteers have gone on to become members of the town's volunteer fire departments.

Besides the training, anyone who becomes a CERT member in Bethel will get a dark green hard hat and backpack with requisite emergency equipment, including traffic control vests, flashlights, neon gloves, and a traffic wand.

"We'll do whatever the town departments need us to do," Bethel CERT volunteer Mangi said about emergencies. "We're trained and available."

Contact Marietta

Homayonpour at or at (203) 731-3336.

IF YOU GO WHAT -- Bethel Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) open house information session WHEN -- Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. WHERE -- Stony Hill Fire Department, 59 Stony Hill Road, Bethel