Zatzkin To Share Story As Deaf CERT Leader
Posted: Wednesday, November 17, 2010
By Scott Smith
TIMES RECORD • [email protected]
The first deaf Houston resident to become certified in Community Emergency
Response Team (CERT) will share her story in Fort Smith.
Nicole Zatzkin will discuss her experience and ambition at 7 p.m. Saturday
at Mission United Methodist Church, 721 N. 10th St. She has used her skills
to help and serve people in other countries during and following disasters,
said Dee Mathes, director of deaf ministries at Mission United Methodist
“Nicole is an inspiration for the deaf and hearing community,” Mathes said.
“With many organizations that respond to disasters, the deaf and elderly are
always the last to be considered for training. We are hoping to help change
Zatzkin first heard about the CERT program in late 2009. Shortly afterward,
she took the course, which was developed by the Los Angeles Fire Department
in 1985. The eight-week course prepares people for the aftermath of
disasters and is offered in more than 3,000 cities and communities
throughout the United States.
CERT subjects include disaster medical operations, fire safety, organization
and disaster psychology, terrorism and search and rescue. Participants also
undergo a simulation of a disaster and gain skills and knowledge on how to
help themselves, their families and their community.
“It’s exciting because Nicole was the first deaf person in Houston to get
CERT-certified, and now there is a team, and she’s the team leader,” Mathes
Mathes said she and others have made two trips to Haiti to help with deaf
children. She said she hopes to help more in the coming months.
“We’re working on getting a something established here in Fort Smith with
CERT,” Mathes said. “Hopefully, that will happen.”
Light refreshments will be served during Zatzkin’s presentation.
For information, call 782-0612 or (866) 970-1953 or visit