COMMUNITY EMERGENCY RESPONSE TEAM
DISASTER – Defined as a sudden event such as an accident or a natural catastrophe that causes great damage or loss of life.
DISASTER – What constitutes a disaster can be different from individual to individual.
Certainly hurricanes Katrina and Sandy were disasters. In Missouri we have experienced tornadoes such as in Joplin, and watched tornadoes destroy parts of Oklahoma. There have been floods, snow storms, ice storms and there is the threat of a New Madrid earthquake.
But what else could affect you directly besides a weather disaster? What if your home, or your neighbor’s home, were to catch fire? What about a hazardous material incident in your city? What if you were involved in, or witnessed, a serious motor vehicle accident? A disaster for you could be if you, or someone you love, fell and suffered a serious injury while working around the home.
DISASTER – Anything that disrupts your normal day to day way of life in a negative way. Are YOU prepared to handle a disaster? Will YOU be able to assist yourself, your family, your co-workers, or your friends and neighbors?
Why do YOU need to be prepared? Our city has an experienced staff of firefighters, police officers, EMS workers, and other emergency personnel along with great medical facilities and medical personnel. They will be there to fulfill their responsibilities (and more) if something happens. But when you review the number of first responders in relationship to the number of citizens that could be affected you quickly realize the ratio is quite lopsided. The REALITY is that in a disaster it could be three or more days before first responders can get to everyone that needs help.
Many factors can influence response time – number of victims, communication failures, infrastructure failures, road blockages, or whether first responder facilities/equipment have been affected. People will be prevented from accessing the emergency services normally available on a moment’s notice by calling 911 and will have to rely on each other in order to meet immediate life sustaining needs. This willingness to help, and the need for it, was demonstrated by the non-first responders who rushed to help during the Boston bombing and the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma.
However, when UNTRAINED people attempt to perform rescue operations they can, and do, lose their own lives. This is a high price to pay and is preventable with the proper training, such as with C.E.R.T.. While we can’t predict when or what disasters will happen, we can prepare for the eventuality.
The C.E.R.T. training program helps with understanding the citizens’ responsibility in preparing for disaster and increases the ability to safely respond/cope with the aftermath of a disaster to help themselves, their family, their co-workers, or their friends and neighbors. Additionally, C.E.R.T. trained individuals can be utilized as neighborhood, business, and government teams that, in essence, will be auxiliary responders to provide immediate assistance to victims, organize spontaneous volunteers who haven’t had training, and collect disaster intelligence that assists professional responders with prioritization and allocation of resources following a disaster.
Training consists of the following:
1) DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
2) DISASTER FIRE SUPPRESSION
3) DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS I
4) DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS II
5) LIGHT SEARCH AND RESCUE
6) DISASTER PSYCHOLOGY AND TEAM ORGANIZATION
7) TERRORISM AND CERT
8) COURSE REVIEW AND DISASTER SIMULATION
A C.E.R.T. graduate may choose to use their skills only for their own personal preparedness. Or they may choose to be available to help with community activities or to assist first responders in a disaster or emergency event. A graduate may choose to receive additional training in communications, severe weather spotting, damage assessment, or other areas of need in the community.
There are many needs for volunteers in our community no matter what your abilities, physical limitations, age, etc. There is need for active volunteers such as lost child teams or traffic control, or less active responsibilities such as taking phone calls, receptionist duties, logistics, etc. All volunteer efforts are needed and appreciated.