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Preparedness Tips: CERT

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If you think that you can dial 911 and get help immediately after a major disaster, go back to bed. First responders can not fill all the demands for needed services. They will be restricted and overwhelmed. Also, and it takes time for an organized response to be put in motion. This can take up to three days. Many people will be cut off from outside help and we will have to rely on each other. Family members, co-workers, friends, and neighbors will want to help. But, untrained and spontaneous help can face serious problems. For example, after the Mexico City earthquake volunteers saved 800 people. Unfortunately, 100 people died while trying to save others. This could have been prevented if the volunteers were trained. This is where CERT comes to the rescue!
If you are the “helper” kind who likes to be in the thick of things getting your hand dirty and can think on your feet, CERT is for you. Find the free CERT training through your local fire department. The program teaches emergency skills that will allow you to help yourself and others. It is practical training that allow citizens to function effectively during a disaster, and to make a real difference. I took the course in 2006 given by James Beebe of North County CERT. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned so much. I recommend it highly. You are not required to join a CERT team after the training. This knowledge can help you, and those around you during an emergency. You will be trained in the following:
Disaster Preparedness
Fire Safety
Disaster Medical Operations
Light Search and Rescue
CERT Organization
Disaster Psychology
Terrorism and CERT
Remember when President Bush asked Americans to volunteer for their country? Well, Citizens Corps was created for this purpose, and CERT was selected as one of the primary programs to use.

The Community Emergency Response Team concept was developed and implemented by the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) in 1985. The Whittier Narrows earthquake in 1987 underscored the area-wide threat of a major disaster in California. Further, it confirmed the need for training civilians to meet their immediate needs. As a result, the LAFD created the Disaster Preparedness Division with the purpose of training citizens and private and government employees.
The training program that LAFD initiated makes good sense and furthers the process of citizens understanding their responsibility in preparing for disaster. It also increases their ability to safely help themselves, their family and their neighbors. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognizes the importance of preparing citizens. The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) and the National Fire Academy adopted and expanded the CERT materials believing them applicable to all hazards.
The CERT course will benefit any citizen who takes it. This individual will be better prepared to respond to and cope with the aftermath of a disaster. Additionally, if a community wants to supplement its response capability after a disaster, civilians can be recruited and trained as neighborhood, business, and government teams that, in essence, will be auxiliary responders. These groups can provide immediate assistance to victims in their area, organize spontaneous volunteers who have not had the training, and collect disaster intelligence that will assist professional responders with prioritization and allocation of resources following a disaster. Since 1993 when this training was made available nationally by FEMA, communities in 28 States and Puerto Rico have conducted CERT training.

Tags: citizen emergency response, community emergency, community emergency help, earthquake, emergency, San Marcos CERT, terror attack


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