Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Community Emergency Response Team - CERT

My son and I just took a 21 hour FEMA course to become members of a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team).  Some of the things we can do on this CERT team are search and rescue, triage, victim relocation, evidence searches and actual medical treatment (low level).  As a Scout leader and ex EMT a lot of this was just a refresher for me especially from my resent Red Cross Wilderness First Aid Course for Philmont next summer.  This is training I have actually wanted to do personally along with Citizen Fire Academy and Citizen Police Academy.  At times this class took forever (this goes to say that no matter the subject, the teacher is the most important key to the students learning and being interested) but most of it was very interesting.

I was grateful to have my son by my side but at times I wanted him to go on his own and during our final exam I purposely stayed away from him so we would be in different groups.  I wanted to release him into the wild as he was the youngest person in the class.  In his group he was selected to lead 4 grown (and old) adults in triaging "victims" (who were actually the local fire department) - not something very common in today's world.  My son went into the room before me as I was in the group moving victims to medical after triage.  The firefighters were throwing crazy at us left and right and made it difficult for us as a group to triage patients.  When my team entered a room I saw my son with a firefighter attached to his leg not letting him go.  My son was trying to convince him to let go of him so he could help other victims.  The firefighter kept calling my son Jesus and asked him to "help" him.  My son did awesome and I was glad he did well.  The CERT team is just up my son's alley.  He loves to help and he loves adventure!  Sort of like his Dad.

Some of the things I noticed about CERT teams is that they work just like a good patrol.  A group leader sits back and surveys what needs to be done as well as making sure that the team stays safe.  He creates a plan of the group to follow.  Teams are limited to 7 or less people.  I watched some teams fall apart because too many type A adults wanted to be in charge - not enough indians and too many chiefs.  Leaders were selected at random (not like the patrol method) but to be successful you need listen to your leader.  You always have a buddy by your side - you can never be alone!!!  One of the things I really like is if while working as a CERT team someone gets sick or can't go on, the whole team must return to "rehab" to fix whatever is wrong.  This is something I wish our patrols would do more - rally around those who need help.

It was a great experience and I was glad to take it.  I can't wait to help and help my community!

CERT bag with my new favorite tool!!
Fishgutts Jr. playing victim while we improvised splinting with only the items from our cars.
Fishgutts Jr. putting out a fire.

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