January 16, 2017

Prepare to Help Your Community in an Emergency

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

There have been several large disasters in recent memory – Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, the 2016 Louisiana floods, tornadoes, ice storms, where hundreds of people lose vital infrastructure, or are displaced.  It take several weeks or months to recover.    Even though a state of emergency is declared, sometimes even ahead of the event, people bemoan the fact that the government wasn’t around to provide much needed help.  Well, the truth of the matter is, the government does realize emergency services will not be around to provide immediate assistance immediately.  When a disaster happens, they actually rely on people to be able to help themselves and their community.

It’s true, the FEMA website states the following:

"Following a major disaster, first responders who provide fire and 
medical services will not be able to meet the demand for these services.
Factors such as number of victims, communication failures and road 
blockages will prevent people from accessing emergency services they 
have come to expect at a moment's notice through 911. People will have 
to rely on each other for help in order to meet their immediate life 
saving and life sustaining needs.
One also expects that under these kinds of conditions, family members, 
fellow employees and neighbors will spontaneously try to help each 
other. This was the case following the Mexico City earthquake where 
untrained, spontaneous volunteers saved 800 people. However, 100 people 
lost their lives while attempting to save others. This is a high price 
to pay and is preventable through training."

Prepare to Help Your Community in an Emergency

The government provides classes so you and I can handle ourselves in the event of a disaster, called CERT.

What is CERT?

CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team.  These are a series of classes provided in many counties all over the country, to train people in disaster preparedness.

Some additional background from the FEMA website describes CERT:

"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."

What do CERT classes cover?

I perused a flyer for CERT classes available in our community.  Topics include:

-Disaster Preparation

-Fire Suppression

-First Aid

-Incident Command

-Search and Rescue

-Disaster Response

-Hazardous Materials

Classes are usually held in a fire station or other community meeting place.  Some of the supplemental classes cover

  • Amateur radio operation
  • Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Automatic External Defibrillation (AED)

These skills can certainly come in handy in a disaster.  Start searching for classes in your area here.  

You’ll need to search around a bit – some of the community sites are not the easiest to navigate.  You may have to copy and paste your area’s website into your browser in order to reach it.

Emergency Services Performed by CERT

Here are a few examples of tasks accomplished by CERTs in recent emergencies (source: our local area CERT)

  • Residential / Neighborhood checks
  • Staffing shelters
  • Medical intervention (triage or treatment)
  • Evacuation of individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs
  • Animal evacuation or shelter
  • General evacuation
  • Debris removal
  • Managing / processing supplies or donations
  • Traffic management / Crowd management
  • Initial damage assessment
  • Basic search and rescue
  • Fire-related safety measures
  • Utility control / Shut off
  • Staffing Emergency Operating Center
  • Community relations / Distribution of emergency information to public

The government knows they can’t be around to help in a big disaster, and they implemented a program to help people learn disaster preparedness skills.  Readers who have gone through the training say they were glad they participated.  Whether you’re watching your pennies or have a big prepping budget, learning these skills can be valuable.  And since we’ve already paid through our tax dollars, you can’t beat the price – free.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2016

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