February 4th, 2007

CERTified

Yesterday I attended a 13 hour advanced CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training. Next Saturday will be an additional (and final) four hour session to complete the training.

A good description is found on this website:

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people 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 the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community

The idea behind CERT is basically that “if ye are prepared ye shall not fear”. CERT members are trained to respond to disasters and other emergencies in preparation for professional assistance. These professionals (Paramedics, EMS, etc.) are going to take a long time attending to your needs (be they severe or not) because of the sheer number of citizens affected in a disaster. According to the (very experienced) instructor, it is usually 7-12 days before your medical needs can be fulfilled, because the trained professionals first go to the hospitals, then to the schools, then the businesses, and lastly to your home. There’s no sense in waiting around for somebody else to help you. Isn’t the gospel one of self-sufficiency and informed independence?

That’s where CERT comes in. As a new member of CERT, I have been instructed on basic first aid, search and rescue, fire suppression, and other disaster response skills. Being equipped with that knowledge, I am better able to act and not be acted upon. This information will allow me to better prepare myself and my (future) family for a likely (or certain) future disaster and put me in a position to administer to others. Organization, communication, and door-to-door search and rescue are key components of operating as a CERT in a local neighborhood environment.

The course was taught by Kenneth Moravec [2], an amazingly experienced ex-military preparedness guru who I’m sure I’ll be emailing frequently with questions. :) I discovered that while other cities and towns in Utah valley have organized CERT teams for better operation and coordination, I’m most likely a lone man here in Lehi! That means in the event of the disaster, I’ll be responsible for checking the status of everybody in my neighborhood and administering first aid as needed, while also operating the EOS (Emergency Operations Center) and coordinating other volunteers.

Sounds like my cup o’ tea!

It was a lot of information to cover, and I have plenty of materials to review, but it was so worth it. If you have $40 (for the discounted cost of CERT gear you’ll receive) and a spare Saturday, will you consider receiving the training to become a CERT? Kenneth holds these advanced trainings once a month throughout the valley. Feel free to pop me an email to request more information. I’d be glad to see others get trained!

5 Responses to “CERTified”

  1. Michael L. Mc Kee
    February 4, 2007 at 2:18 pm #

    Connor

    Congratulations, and thank you for your efforts to be an asset to your community.

    As you should know by now I am nearly 60 years old. I took the C.E.R.T. course about 1 & 1/2 years ago, and it was a very interesting opportunity. There were a couple of sisters (non-members) there who were in their 70’s. Unfortunately, of the nearly 20 members of the class, I don’t believe any were in their mid 20’s.

    We were given our instructions as well as equipment, and it did not cost anything directly. Of course the costs had to be absorbed by some taxpayer entity, and I believe the funding came from Homeland Security grants.

    BTW I later attended a similar course offered by the same people which dealt with animal borne diseases, and the devastation which can be caused when diseases spread through an agriculture, and farming community. Perhaps you will want to find out more about that oportunity.

  2. Connor
    February 4, 2007 at 5:19 pm #

    Unfortunately, of the nearly 20 members of the class, I don’t believe any were in their mid 20’s.

    There were probably around 50 people in the training yesterday. Two wards had organized together to bring interested people, so there were a couple young kids there (12-13 years old) as well as a couple other people in their mid 20s. I was surprised at how many “seniors” there were. Very cool.

  3. Chris
    February 5, 2007 at 12:56 pm #

    I went to CERT training in Heber. All the people were old. If there is a disaster I have no doubt that the local CERT will either be dead or incapacitated in some way.

  4. Mark
    February 8, 2007 at 9:00 am #

    Good for you Connor. I have been planning on joining CERT in my area, and attending their training. Its good to hear the wards combined to increase the group attending the CERT training. This gives me an idea to suggest to my wards Emergency Response Specialist that we do something similar.

  5. Michael L. Mc Kee
    February 8, 2007 at 6:18 pm #

    I would like to respond to Curtis about those “Old” people in Heber, but decided I should first get a clarification as to what, precisely, he meant.

    I may be about to respond in a manner which could be considered offensive. and I do not want to take his comments out of context if I have missed something in the translation.

    If I have, I will apologize in advance for what I have been thinking, and bridle my thoughts until I receive greater clarity.

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