For years I have heard of CERT certification and have been curious about it. I have wanted to become certified but between pregnancies, nursing babies, and my schedule I haven’t been able to make it work. This month however my church was sponsoring a CERT class that would run 2 Saturdays ALL day. I knew it would be a sacrifice to attend but I also knew a typical CERT certification course ran for weeks one night a week. A weekly schedule for many weeks just doesn’t work for me right now so I jumped on this opportunity. I am only finished the first Saturday but I’m really excited about what I am learning and wanted to encourage you all to check it out, learn more, and eventually become CERT certified if it works for you. As I finish the certification I’ll share some of what I have been learning with you.
WHAT IS CERT
CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. CERT educates individuals about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT volunteers can assist others in their community following a disaster when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT volunteers are also encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking an active role in emergency preparedness projects.
Some things I learned on the first day:
- More about disasters that can happen in my community with a lot of information on earthquakes
- How and when to turn off utilities
- What to do in case of fires
- Triage and communication plans
- Carries and holds for moving victims
- Basic first aid
- Search and rescue techniques
- Basic psychology issues to be aware of
- Organizing block captains and tagging/assessing homes
- Using cribs to remove victims from under obstruction
- Setting up an NEOC (Neighborhood Emergency Operation Center
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
One of my favorite things was when we got to put out a little fire with an extinguisher. I can honestly say I have never used an extinguisher and if push came to shove and I had to use one I PROBABLY would have panicked. Now that I have practiced using one I feel confident I could use one in an emergency. It’s just like so much of what we teach and talk about. Practice, practice, practice (when you don’t really need it). Then when it comes time to using those skills you’ll have confidence in your abilities.
Here are a couple links that might be of interest to you in learning more:
-Jodi Weiss Schroeder