Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Buddy System

As we look at some of the lessons in National Preparedness Month, we can look back at our CERT training and remember how many times we were told we needed to stay in pairs. We heard people say, but I was just walking to command and I thought that was okay. Or my partner is fine, they are staying where I left them. And after you didn't listen to it the first few times, you became a victim. Then you learned the lesson.

Now lets take that to the real world. If we were to experience a disaster where we needed to use our CERT skills, do you have a CERT partner? Would you go around with a family member? Would you just grab the closest person you see? They would probably be so focused on their own family versus going door to door. I guess I could call Terry, Jack, Cathleen, ... but they are across town and probably have their own neighborhood to deal with. I could drive to an area with power and put an alert on the blog (probably not).

Something I have not given much thought to. Have others thought about this? Who is your CERT buddy?


  1. Andrew,
    A VERY good point, one I'm sure none of us have really considered outside of exercises at the fire academy.I'm lucky in this respect;I have my nephew Jon Curl which finished CERT 28 earlier this year.He'd be my CERT buddy.
    I'm sure the GIS system using Google Earth will go a long way in CERT's knowing where other CERT;s are around their home or work locations. But right now as it stands we generally don't know of other CERTs around us. Communicating via phone in a major disaster would be fraught with problems as well; cell towers may be down or overloaded (Terry tip-home phones/landlines through the phone companies DO WORK when the power goes out.)There would'nt be much of a way to communicate with each other; we would all be on our own.
    Andrew,I have actually thought of this.Here's a thought........ I think that in the context of a disaster in our neighborhoods; our CERT "buddy" may actually pick US; rather than us picking a CERT buddy.
    I say this because after a disaster; we will be the ones (somewhat) prepared and (somewhat) in control of the situation. Unhurt people are going to be dazed and confused after a disaster; they will try to get help for their loved ones.These folks will gravitate towards the person with the persona of being "in control" of the situation. (And I say "persona" because we'll be just as scared as regular citizens...our CERT training and procedures is what sets us apart. We can objectify a disaster to a certain degree because we've been trained to; whereas normal citizens will be totally dazed and confused...)In the absence of regular first responders the person seeming to be "in control" would be the CERT on the scene.
    Another thing is that people will inherently "want to help". Once they feel that their families are safe and stable after a disaster people will come out to help. you'll probably be able to take your pick of potential CERT "buddies".Pair those who want to help into two man teams, tell them/show them what is needed to be done and get to work.
    I think that our CERT buddies will find us in a disaster....
    volunteer PIO

  2. Those were some excellent tips. But as far as people picking us. Hmmm... have each of us done a good job in explaining to people in our community what CERT really means.

    I would believe many of us did. The problem is, when it was explained to them, did anyone get a response, oh I had that training 30 years ago when I worked in a school (insert your own example here). A simple difference between hearing and listening.

    During a disaster is not the time to explain what CERT is. However, our County CERT vests should help people realize you are not making this up.

    But it is those people who tend to try and take control of the situation who might have had first aid and basic rescue training, but would probably be the first not to use PPE and we would end up needing to save them and the teams they create.

    Any suggestions on dealing with that person who not only puts themself in harms way, but would probably organize teams to do the same.

    My suggestion would be to have that person be responsible for logistics and in charge of the chainshaws. The least we can do is keep them outside of the buildings.

    Seems like a good scenario where I could play victim? Ha ha.


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