“The greatest good for the greatest number.” – CERT Motto
Last weekend we attended Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training. The materials are available here. It was amazing! We didn’t learn anything specific to adoptive homes, but we learned things that are good for all parents to know. We learned:
- How to use the ICS system.
- How to perform simple search and rescue.
- Fire suppression using an ABC extinguisher.
- How to do cribbing to lift heavy objects off of people.
- How to determine who to save in a crisis (triage).
- How to perform simple medical procedures.
- Shelter-in-place techniques.
The class took 20 hours and was taught over 3 days: a Friday evening (4 hours), Saturday (8 hours) and Sunday (8 hours) by our county fireteam with local firepeople and a grant from Homeland Security. It was free to us and we even recieved a backpack filled with tools (a gas/water shutoff tool, a crow bar, a helmet, a vest, eye protection, duct tape, first-aid kit, non-latex gloves, etc.
At the end of the training we had an actual drill. We arrived on the scene as a group to find that the community center had experienced an earthquake. We had to designate an IC (person in charge), assess the outside of the building (we found a fire that we put out and we had to turn off the gas line to the building) to know if it was safe for us to enter, assess the inside of the building to see if there were any victims (we found 29), develop a plan to triage (decide who was in immediate need – red), had a delayed need – yellow, had a minor need – green, or was dead and had no need – black), then we developed a plan to evacuate the victims (we had to carry them out on chairs or in sheets) and then provide light medical care.
There are three criteria to decide if a victim is immediate (red), delayed (yellow), minor (green) or dead:
Our class only had 10 people in it so we had to make sure to make good use out of the people that we had. One person was the IC (person in charge), two people stayed outside to set up the treatment area and six of us were the triage and evacuation team. I was on a four-person team that carried out a guy that was about six-six and weighed more than 220 pounds. A guy was helping but he decided that he couldn’t do it. I volunteered to take the head, but he thought that I couldn’t do it. I had to tell him clearly that I could do it. He acquiesced and I got it done.
It’s important for everyone to know this stuff, but especially families with children. The firepeople were clear about telling us that CERT members are not going to utilized a lot. CERT members will only be utilized when emergency services are unable to respond. The examples that the firepeople gave were usually natural disasters that meant that neighborhoods would be without emergency services for anywhere from one day to four days. ONE TO FOUR DAYS! Have you read Lord of the Flies?
One of the things we talked about was the psychology behind emergencies and how quickly people can become panicked and stop thinking clearly. Even if you don’t care about anyone else in your neighborhood … CERT training is for you … because you care about yourself, right? You care about your family, right? CERT is about learning how to take care of yourself, your family, your neighborhood and your community. Start where you are.
One of the most important things I learned was about sheltering-in-place. In case something happens and the radio and tv tell us to stay inside it’s important to know how to stay inside. Here’s a slide about sheltering-in-place:
I learned too much information to share here, but please, please, please find out where you can take the CERT training in your community.