The 2013 Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Class wrapped up on Wednesday, February 27th with a record 21 participants graduating from the program.
During the eight week class, participants learned about fire safety and utility controls, disaster medical operations, light search and rescue, disaster preparedness, disaster psychology, CERT organization and terrorism.The CERT program develops a ready force of organized and trained volunteer disaster workers that operate at the neighborhood level. Experience has shown that in a disaster setting, ordinary citizens make over 80% of successful rescues as they respond to the emergency in their community. However, many untrained volunteer rescuers may actually cause harm or become injured in the process.
The class culminated with a final exercise designed to simulate a building hit by a tornado, similar to what CERT team members could encounter in the field. Team members established an incident command structure and then went to work on the scenario which required them to make entry to conduct search and rescue. Realism was added to their efforts through the use of volunteer victims. Their cries for help, combined with the use of a fog machine to simulate dust and smoke provided an incredible level of realism to the exercise. Upon finding victims in the building, team members performed a head-to-toe assessment and provided initial treatment for any simulated injuries. Victims were then triaged and evacuated to a medical operations area.
The graduates performed admirably during this exercise and will be a great asset to the community’s preparedness efforts in the future.