FREE Local Disaster Preparedness Training

 (pictured above our CERT Team practicing rescuing a trapped victim, cribbing and transporting the victim)

Many people may not be aware that they have a few great disaster preparedness resources and training classes offered in their own areas, and best of all.... they're FREE !

One of these programs is called CERT, aka Community Emergency Response Team. The program involves three weekends of hands on training and ongoing training opportunities there after. You can learn skills to be able to help those in your community before, during, and after disasters.

The 9 Units of CERT Training Include:

Disaster Preparedness
Fire Safety
Disaster Medical Operations 1
Disaster Medical Operations 2
Light Search and Rescue Operations
CERT Organization
Disaster Psychology
Terrorism and CERT
Course Review and Disaster Simulation

In the Disaster Preparedness unit, students learn about what types of disasters are typical in their areas and how the CERT team helps in each of these situations. They also learn about home and workplace preparedness, the potential impacts of each hazard and how to reduce the impact of hazards through mitigation.

In unit 2 Fire Safety, the students learn about fire chemistry, fire and utility hazards, hazardous materials, and fire suppression safety. They also perform hands on training of suppressing a fire. Students are split into teams and practice entering in a fire, suppressing it and safely exiting.

Units 3 & 4 are focused on Disaster Medical Operations. These sections are important in learning the correct ways to assess and treat a victims wounds. The units cover treating life-threatening conditions, triage, public health concerns, establishing medical treatment areas (triage area), conducting head-to-toe assessments, treating burns, wounds, fractures, dislocations, sprains, strains, and nasal injuries. Students also learn how to treat cold & heat-related injuries, bites and stings. These units are hands-on and students will practice all of the above skills through special rescue simulations.

In unit 5 the CERT students will be introduced to Light Search and Rescue through information and physical training. They will learn about safety during search & rescue operations and conducting interior and exterior search operations. Students will perform multiple simulations finding and rescuing victims in various situations and treating their injuries.

Unit 6 introduces students to the structure of the CERT Organization and it's purpose. They learn about the chain of command and purpose of each division.

In unit 7 Disaster Psychology, students learn about disaster trauma, team well-being and working with survivors' trauma. In a disaster, CERT members may be exposed to many situations that are uncomfortable and even traumatic to themselves and the victims they are assisting. According to their manual, "Techniques covered in this unit will help you manage personal situations so that the needs of all survivors, including victims and CERT members, can be met".

Unit 8 covers Terrorism and CERT. Students learn what terrorism is, about various terrorist targets in their area and the different types of weapons terrorists use. They will also learn detailed information about CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and High-yield Explosives) indicators, how to prepare at home, work, and in their own neighborhood for these types of events and how the CERT members respond to these events.

The last unit reviews the information from the previous chapters, a final exam and perform a final exercise that simulates a disaster situation. Depending on the situation the instructor choses, students will have to arrive on scene, assess the situation, perform an exterior and interior assessment, search and rescue operations and perform medical triage on victims found.

Even More Information:

Upon successful completion of the CERT training members receive a go bag with equipment that they will have on hand, if and when they are dispatched to respond to a local disaster. Students will also be required to complete a few online courses and tests on the FEMA website as directed by the instructor. After each of these trainings are completed, the student receives additional equipment based on their level of completion.

Making the Choice:

A small number of students that attend and complete the CERT training, do so just to learn the skills to utilize for their own disaster preparedness plan. However, an even greater number of graduated students become active members on their local CERT team.

Why not learn life saving skills and more importantly, put them to use to help those in your own community!

Find More Information or Sign Up for a CERT Class near you HERE.

Personal Note:

As a current member of our local CERT Team, I highly recommend the training to everyone. My instructors were wonderful and VERY knowledgeable. The training I received will absolutely help me to be better prepared for my family and also to help in my community. A Huge Thank You to my instructors J. Wingate & J. Tankersley!

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