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Getting Started with C.E.R.T.

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This last week, I had the opportunity to participate in my first Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training. I have to admit that I had been putting this off for quite some time, but am glad that I am finally getting involved now.

The initial class was great. There are a few weeks remaining and lots of material to review. After talking with quite a few folks about their reasons to not take the course, here are the primary excuses, commonly used:

  1. I don’t want to be in the government’s records any more than I already am…I don’t trust the gov’t!
  2. I’ve been prepping for several decades and pretty much know my threats…I don’t need a boring class to learn what I already know!
  3. I don’t have the time for more “meetings” in my life.
  4. My [family member/relative/friend/neighbor] is a [police officer/firefighter/paramedic/etc.] and I can pretty much count on them.

Privacy & Trust

As far as giving more information to government agencies than they already “have” on you, here’s the deal: You are not required to provide your social security number in order to participate in the training. If you would like the opportunity to progress into the advanced CERT trainings and skills capacity, you will need to provide that information. Providing that SSN is important for the agencies because they need to establish that individuals with advanced training are of a character and background free of issues that could conflict with the safe & trusted deployment of their response-ability, without immediate supervision and can function autonomously & securely. Often times, advanced-level CERTs are deployed into areas outside of their immediate communities, into other federal or state regions than the one in which they reside personally.

If you are of an opinion that you would like to help your community (i.e. neighbors, fellow residents, etc.) but distrust government, then consider that by uniting your efforts with CERT you will become the trusted resource to those whom you aid when other agencies/organizations are unable to respond.

Knowledge Expansion

Each individual has the opportunity to expand his/her knowledge in every field of study…and especially practical application! I have met with more than two active fire chiefs of densely populated metropolitan cities and each one has been active in fire service for several decades. Each of them also readily shared that they continue to learn on the job, regardless of their experiences over the years.

It is possible for an individual to have read all of the CERT and supplemental materials and to gain a knowledge of the didactic portions of curricula. The real test of learned knowledge comes in its mastery through application. Any profession which requires its constituents to continually drill and train, understands this principle as well as the need for muscle memory and the building of fast-twitch muscle fiber response.

One crucial component of the classroom/field-drills training is the interaction with other individuals in order to develop appropriate responses per scenario. This is the most challenging aspect of implementing the book work. There will always be lessons to learn from drills. Remember this saying? The more you sweat during practice, the less you bleed during gametime.

Time is Valuable

Time is more valuable than money. For those whose schedules or areas cannot accommodate  8-hour individual classes, 2-hour classes are also available during evenings in most locations. The steady participation in several classes of shorter length can accommodate virtually every individual, regardless of their availability.

For those who are completely unable to attend because of conflicting schedules, you could benefit from visiting the main CERT website and downloading the participant manual and studying at your own pace. Here is the link: CERT Training Materials.

Personal Individual Development

Each and every one of us knows that our country’s decline is the cumulative consequence of individuals abandoning personal accountability. Many attitudes toward emergency preparedness reflect that similar disregard. This is changing, believe it or not. I constantly see individuals who have finally “had enough” of the status quos in their lives. They have decided to take action and engage themselves. Personal individual development is a process that is rewarding and liberating. As we position ourselves with greater autonomy, we strengthen our value to our families, neighborhoods, community, and country. This is the greatest aim of patriotism: Sovereignty.

Following are my notes from my first CERT meeting this last week.

  • Instructors have over 30 years of experience in emergency preparedness
  • [Received] Community emergency response team manual
  • Citizens are the first responders
  • Key elements of disasters:
    • Relatively unexpected
    • Emergency personnel overwhelmed
    • Lives endangered
  • Be sure to store water as water supply is not inadequate [slightly mentioned]
  • Assemble disaster kit
  • Develop a safe room
  • Possible disasters:
    • Flash floods
    • Lightning
    • Winter weather
    • Earthquakes
  • Biggest killer is flash floods in USA
    • Have flood insurance
    • Have a flood evacuation plan
    • Stay out of flooded areas
  • Tornadoes
  • Hail
  • Winter storms
    • fill your gas tank
  • Extreme temperatures
    • Heat cramps
  • Earthquakes
    • Strap water heaters
    • Develop a plan
    • Conduct earthquake drills
    • Identify an out of state family contact
    • Secure book case
  • Water storage
    • 1-2 gallons per day/person [they were too brief on this point]
  • Food storage calms people
    • Store [food] you like
  • Medical supplies
    • First aid kit
    • Keep prescriptions
  • Landslides

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