Fayette County authorities stop a wannabe emergency response group

FAYETTE COUNTY, W.Va. –– Authorities in Fayette County put an end to an emergency response team following allegations of inappropriate activity last month.

A group calling itself the “Fayette County ‘Community Emergency Response Team’,” or “CERT,” was allegedly started by local high school students wanting to respond to emergencies such as car wrecks, missing or injured people, or natural disasters.

Sheriff Steve Kessler and Fayette County Fire Coordinator Joe Crist released information about the group Monday.

The report said organizers of the group told potential recruits they would respond and provide assistance to emergency service providers including law enforcement, EMS, and the fire department.

Crist said they received calls that those associated with the group had been asking for donations to support the group.

The kids also provided online training because they did not have regular meetings.

After investigating the allegations, Kessler said no such group had been licensed as a non-profit organization by the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office. The group was also not affiliated with any local fire departments or with the Fayette County Office of Emergency Services.

Sheriff’s deputies and Crist met the organizers of group in the Ansted area Sunday. Crist said those involved were “well-meaning kids who were trying to do something good for our community” and that they were “just going about it the wrong way.”

The group leaders stated they were unaware they had to be affiliated with the county’s Emergency Services office.

Gaining affiliation with the Fayette County Office of Emergency Services includes maintaining a liability insurance policy, registering with the Office of the West Virginia Secretary of State as a non-profit organization, filing reports on fundraising activities, and receiving the proper training in responding to emergencies.

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