No folks, I didn't forget to turn off caps when creating the post title. CERT is the shortened version of Community Emergency Response Team.
What is CERT?
A CERT team consists of community volunteers who participate in a training program that teaches them how to assist in cases of disaster or hazards. Often, when these events occur, professional responders can become overwhelmed and unable to immediately respond to multiple situations.
Why is it Useful?
CERT volunteers learn how to protect themselves, their families and neighborhoods in cases of emergency and also non-emergency projects, such as traffic and crowd control. The free training sessions require an investment in time. This past weekend I attended a 20-hour session here in Nashua. Thankfully, the weather outside was dreary, damp and rainy all weekend. That made being indoors Friday evening and all day Saturday and Sunday just a little more bearable.
Grenville had previously taken the CERT training and was one of the instructors for these sessions. as for myself, I and about 25 others were students who received classroom training and participated in hands-on exercises for basic disaster response skills. Among other things we learned search and rescue techniques, how to safely extinguish small fires, turn off gas and electric utilities, and provide basic first aid.
Our final hands-on exercise was a mock disaster drill to locate, rescue and treat victims inside a building after a tornado had struck. Everyone successfully passed and at "graduation" we received a certificate of completion, and a backpack of supplies that included a helmet, goggles, wrench, flashlight, and first aid kit.
It's like paying for house or auto insurance that I hope is never needed, but if an emergency does happen, now I have some additional skills. Many of us from the training signed up to become members of the CERT team here in Nashua.
Being prepared is always good. We are keeping in our thoughts those here in the U.S. and other countries threatened by winds and rains from Hurricane Matthew.
If you want to know if a CERT program is available in your area, check the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website.