About a dozen of us completed CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training this past weekend.
Whatcom County Emergency Management was kind enough to come to the island and cram the course into two weekends totaling 24 hours of class and practice time. Normally, the course is given over an eight week period so those of us who wanted to take the training were lucky not to have to go to town for eight weeks in a row.
“The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.”
This training was organized by the Disaster Preparedness Committee on the island. CERT trained personnel will be available to assist the Fire Department, law enforcement and public works in the event of a disaster.
The Disaster Preparedness program is moving ahead on Lummi Island. I think it’s easy for everyone to see the value of Disaster Preparedness. From short term preparation we need to extend our thinking into long-term planning for whatever the future might bring. We need to have long term plans for all the same areas that are of concerned to Disaster Preparedness: Community organization and support, food, water, shelter, power, sanitation.
The CERT training was quite generalized and I expect the CERT trained people will get together occasionally to come up with plans that are specific to Lummi Island.
The weekend ended with a fairly realistic exercise at the Grange Hall. The CERT team arrived to find that some type of disaster had occurred and the building was full of people with various simulated injuries. Instructors had used graphic makeup to give us the feeling of a real emergency. The team had to organize, search the building, do triage, set up a medical area, locate supplies then rescue, move and give first aid to the victims until the professionals arrived. It was an effective exercise that put to use most of the stuff we had learned in the course.
If there is enough interest we could probably talk Emergency Management to putting on the course for another group of islanders.