Lehighton Area Neighborhood Crime Watch took to the road on Tuesday evening for a tour of Carbon County Communications Center in Nesquehoning.

In addition, the group learned about CERT (Community Emergency Response Team).

According to Carbon County Emergency Management Planner/Trainer Tom Newman, the CERT program is designed to acquaint county residents with introductory courses in basic first aid; triage; disaster preparedness; fire suppression; light search and rescue; and terrorism awareness.

"Neighbors helping neighbors is our goal," said Newman.

In the event of a disaster, a CERT member is recognized as a volunteer under the direction of Carbon County Emergency Management Agency.

"Your community (the Lehighton area) needs CERT volunteers very much," CCEMA director Mark Nalesnik told the crime watch group. "And you're already organized. It's a perfect fit."

CERT classes will be offered from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. on three consecutive Mondays April 8, 15, and 22. Attendance is required all three evenings for certification. If a class is missed, it may be "made up" during the fall 2013 session Mondays, September 9, 16, and 23.

For more information or to sign up for the CERT classes, call 570-325-3097 or e-mail cccert@ptd.net.

During the tour of the communications center, 911 Operators Jamie Blisard and Kate McGinley gave a detailed description of the console system and their duties. Several calls were received by the communications center while the group was touring.

When a "land line" call comes into the center, a map on a computer screen automatically pinpoints the location of the caller.

For a caller using a cell phone, the tower closest to the caller is indicated on the screen.

According to Blisard and McGinley, tapes of every call to the communications center; as well as every radio transmission, are stored for 10 years.

Carbon County Communications Center dispatches 13 police departments, 14 (EMS) Emergency Medical Services stations, and 21 fire districts.

Next month, Lehighton Area Neighborhood Crime Watch will be the special guests of Jim Thorpe Community Watch on Wednesday, April 17 at 7 p.m. at Jim Thorpe Memorial Hall, located at 101 E. 10th St., Jim Thorpe.

Those who would like to carpool to Jim Thorpe Memorial Hall are asked to meet at Lehighton Area High School parking lot at 6:30 p.m.

Originally scheduled for Thursday, April 18, the meeting has been rescheduled to Wednesday, April 17 so as not to conflict with the planned Carbon County Drug and Alcohol Awareness Expo.

In an effort to raise awareness about the increasing use of drugs and alcohol among youth in Carbon County and across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Rep. Doyle Heffley will host the free expo on Thursday, April 18 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at LAHS.

Lehighton Area Neighborhood Crime Watch is looking for more community members to step forward and volunteer to help be additional "eyes and ears" of law enforcement.

The group is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the area by helping to prevent or reduce crime by educating the community how to detect suspicious activities and properly report them to the police.

All interested community members are invited and encouraged to attend the meetings of the organization and become involved. It is not just for the boroughs of Lehighton and Weissport, but also for each of the townships that comprise Lehighton Area School District East Penn, Franklin, and Mahoning.

For more information, to volunteer, or to make a donation to the community-wide program, contact Program Coordinator Byron Schnell at 610-377-1926.

Follow the organization on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NeighborhoodCrimeWatch.