WILTON — Wilton’s all-volunteer Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will hold its free, annual disaster preparedness training program beginning Monday, Jan. 20 through Monday, Feb. 10.

During the 20-hour course conducted over six sessions, people will learn how to help family, friends, and neighbors in the event of an emergency or disaster.

CERT instructors certified by the Connecticut Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, will cover a number of topics assisted by instructors from the police department, fire department and emergency medical service. The training will cover a variety of emergency skills, such as how to prepare for when a disaster strikes, basic first aid, disaster psychology, hazardous materials and terrorism awareness. Fire safety skills include how to extinguish small fires and evacuate a smoke-filled building.

In addition to classroom work, there will be practical exercises conducted in the field including radio communications and traffic control.

At the conclusion of the course, disaster preparedness backpack kits will be provided free to all participants.

Upon successful completion of the course, graduates are eligible for and encouraged to join the Wilton CERT organization. As part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Wilton CERT regularly provides assistance to the town and its first responders at large emergency incidents and public events.

Wilton CERT has performed a broad range of deployment activities, including traffic and crowd control duties, search and rescue for missing persons, staffing Wilton’s emergency shelter and distributing emergency food and water as and when required.

Course participants must be 16 years or older, however those wishing to join CERT must be at least 18. The class is limited to 35 people, so early registration is encouraged.

For course details, including the schedule, or to sign up, visit wiltoncert.org. More information is also available from Dave Heiden at wiltonctcert@gmail.com.