Tuesday, December 31, 2013

CERTs: Are you "Ready" for 2014?

I think it's safe to say that we CERTs believe that we're better prepared for disasters than many of our friends, neighbors, and even family members. (Sometimes, we might even feel a bit smug about it.)

Then again, all too often, people find themselves falling victim to "Do as I say, not as I do" syndrome.

For 2014, resolve to do your part to use your CERT training to help your community (including your own family) be better prepared for disasters and emergencies.

Emergency Mommy: Put more meaning in your merry & give the gift of preparedness
Image by Flickr user emergencyinfobc, used under Creative Commons license.
But before you start going around asking people to "Resolve to Be Ready" in 2014 (which I hope you'll do... more on that in a moment), take a moment to look at your own preparedness:
  • Have you updated your family's communication plan in the past year? And have you reviewed it with your family?
  • Have you checked your 72-hour disaster supply kit, making sure no one's "borrowed" stuff from it over the past year, and checked to see that things like batteries, medical supplies, and prescription drugs are still good? (The same goes for additional kits, like in your car or workplace. And how about your CERT backpack?)
  • Have you stayed current in your disaster skills and knowledge? Taken refresher CERT training, or renewed your First Aid and CPR/AED certification? Downloaded the helpful smartphone apps from FEMA and American Red Cross, and bookmarked the FEMA mobile site? And liked or followed Fairfax County CERT on Facebook and Twitter?

Resolve for 2014

After you've reviewed your own family's preparedness, I hope you'll use your knowledge and leadership as a CERT to help your friends, neighbors, and community become better prepared in 2014. It can be as simple as posting a Facebook status asking people to check out Ready.gov's Prepared 2014 page, which reminds everyone that "Winging It" is not an emergency plan:
 

Together, let's make our friends, neighbors, and nation better prepared in 2014. Have a happy and safe New Year's holiday, and we look forward to seeing you in a prosperous and prepared 2014!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

2014 Fairfax County CERT Training Classes Open for Enrollment

Fairfax County CERT is happy to announce the first batch of training activities for 2014, with 22 classes already scheduled and ready for enrollment, and more on the way!

2014
2014 image by Flickr user artisrams, used under Creative Commons license.
See the class listings below. For full information and to register for a class, please visit the Fairfax County CERT site and follow the instructions shown here:

To Register for CERT Training:

Visit www.fairfaxcert.com and log in. If you don't have a training account, you'll need to register. After you've logged in:
  1. Click the "Training" tab in the navigation bar
  2. Select "Training Calendar"
  3. Click the right arrow (>>) to show the month you want
  4. Click on the name of the class you want on the date it's offered
  5. To sign up for a class, click the "Enroll" button next to the one you want. You'll receive a confirmation email at your registered address.
(Please note -- if you register for a class and later find out that you won't be able to attend, please take a moment to visit the site and unenroll: This will free up a slot allowing another CERT member to take the course.)
Important Technical Note: The FairfaxCERT.com site works best with Firefox and Chrome web browsers. Internet Explorer and mobile users may have problems registering. If you're unable to register, please email your name and which class you want to attend to fire.cert@fairfaxcounty.gov
 

  • January 8, Wednesday: CERT HazMat Awareness (CERT-Haz): A general introduction to hazardous materials. 
IMG_1344
CERT students demonstrate their lifting and cribbing skills to free a trapped victim during their graduation exercise.
  • January 21, begins Tuesday: CERT II - Class 79 (CERT 79): The full CERT training, meeting once a week for seven weeks, ending in March with a full-scale graduation exercise. A mixture of classroom and hands-on training, students will learn skills to help themselves, their families, and their communities in case of a disaster, including triage, disaster medicine, fire suppression, search-and-rescue, and more.
  • January 22, begins Wednesday: CERT II - Class 80 (CERT 80): The same training as above, except offered on Wednesday nights.
  • February 1, Saturday: Infectious Control / Blood-Borne Pathogens (BBP): CERTs will learn about infectious-disease-causing organisms they might encounter in different disasters, as well as infection control precautions they should take.
  • IMG_1789
    A moulaged victim actor during a CERT exercise displays a realistic impalement and flesh wounds.
  • February 10, Monday: Art of Moulage (MOU-1): Learn how to apply moulage, or realistic wound makeup, to victim actors at training exercises.
  • February 13, Thursday: Tour of EOC (Tour EOC): CERTs will see the workings of Fairfax County's Emergency Operations Center.
  • February 18, begins Tuesday: CERT - Class 81 (CERT 81): CERT training in the community (Fairfax), meeting once a week for eight weeks. Students will learn disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, disaster medical operations, and more, in hands-on and classroom training.
IMG_1719
Animal stand-ins during a prior CERT training session on Pet First Aid During Disasters.
  • February 24, Monday: CERT Animal Module 1 (CERT An 1): CERT members will learn emergency preparedness for animal owners and how to recognize specific animal behaviors. 
  • March 3, Monday: CERT Animal Module 2 (CERT An 2): In the second of two Animal Modules, CERT members will learn how to handle situations involving animals that they may encounter in performing their broader CERT response functions.   
  • April 15, Tuesday: Dominion Power Safety Presentation (POWER): A representative from Dominion Power will teach CERTs how to recognize and avoid dangers from utilities during disasters.
  • May 3, Saturday: Infectious Control / Blood-Borne Pathogens (BBP): Same as Feb. 1.
  • May 7, Wednesday: CERT HazMat Awareness (CERT-Haz): Same as Jan. 8.
  • June 2, Monday: NSC First Aid (NSCFA01): CERTs will learn how to respond to breathing emergencies, identifying and caring for bleeding, sudden illness and injuries, and techniques for preventing disease transmission.
  • June 3, Tuesday: NSC First Aid (NSCFA01): Same as above. Only one session is required.
  • June 16, Monday: NSC CPR & AED (NSCCPR01): CERTs will learn how to respond to breathing and cardiac emergencies in adults, children and infants; tips on heart disease prevention, scene control, patient assessment, CPR integration, AED application and protocol adherence.
  • June 17: Tuesday: NSC CPR & AED (NSCCPR01): Same as above. Only one session is required.
  • August 2, Saturday: Infectious Control / Blood-Borne Pathogens (BBP): Same as Feb. 1. 
  • November 1, Saturday: Infectious Control / Blood-Borne Pathogens (BBP): Same as Feb. 1. 
  • November 5, Wednesday: CERT HazMat Awareness (CERT-Haz): Same as Jan. 8.
  • December 10, Wednesday: NSC First Aid (NSCFA01): Same as June 2.
  • December 11, Thursday: NSC First Aid (NSCFA01): Same as above. Only one session is required.
  • December 15, Monday: NSC CPR & AED (NSCCPR01): Same as June 16.
  • December 16: Tuesday: NSC CPR & AED (NSCCPR01): Same as above. Only one session is required.
Many more courses are being added to the calendar -- check the weekly CERT emails for more info, and follow us on Facebook

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Register now for 2014 CERT Classes!

If you've been eagerly awaiting the chance to take Community Emergency Response Team training, this is the news you've been waiting for! Registration is now open for Fairfax County CERT's Winter/Spring 2014 classes -- they're filling up fast, so register now (then, tell your friends):

IMG_2659
CERT students transport a victim actor during the fall 2013 graduation exercise. Photo: Joe Loong.

CERT

This is the main CERT class we rave about. You'll learn how to save lives with duct tape and Sharpie markers; conduct triage and disaster medical operations; put out small fires; perform search and rescue; prepare for disasters: and much, much more.

Plus, you'll get a backpack of CERT rescue gear that you'll use in training, including during a realistic, full-scale graduation exercise.

Training is free to all adults over 18, of all physical abilities, who live or work in Fairfax County. Basic CERT rescue gear is supplied.

There are two CERT classes starting in January; both classes will meet at the Fire and Rescue Academy in Fairfax -- the same facility Fairfax County firefighters use to train -- from 7-10PM, weekly for seven weeks (from January to March):
  • Class 79 is Tuesday evenings, starting on January 21.
  • Class 80 is Wednesday evenings, starting on January 22.
CERT classes are taught by experts from the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, and combine classroom instruction with hands-on training. 

To Register for CERT Training:

Visit www.fairfaxcert.com and log in. If you don't have a training account, you'll need to register. After you've logged in:
  1. Click the "Training" tab in the navigation bar
  2. Select "Training Calendar"
  3. Click the right arrow (>>) to show the month you want
  4. Click on the name of the class you want on the date it's offered
Important Technical Note: The FairfaxCERT.com site works best with Firefox and Chrome web browsers. Internet Explorer and mobile users may have problems registering. If you're unable to register, please email your name and which class you want to attend to fire.cert@fairfaxcounty.gov
 

Additional Training Opportunities

The full 2014 training calendar should be finalized soon. Here are some already-scheduled training opportunities for December and January (please note that the December CPR/AED and First Aid classes on the calendar are full):
  • Tuesday, December 10: CERT Refresher - Incident Command System (ICS). 7PM-10PM, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy. A refresher in the Incident Command System for current CERT members who have already taken CERT training. Register at www.fairfaxcert.com, using the instructions above to find "CRFRSH/ICS" on Dec. 10. [Update, 12/5: The ICS Refresher class has been postponed. Watch for CERT emails when the class is rescheduled.]
  • Wednesday, January 8: CERT HAZMAT Awareness. 7PM-11PM, Fairfax Center, Fire Station 40. A general introduction to hazardous materials that can serve as an initial foundation for existing CERT members. Students will learn about Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TIC), and more. Register at www.fairfaxcert.com, using the instructions above to find "CERT-Haz" on Jan. 8.
Plus, stay tuned for the February courses (some of which have already been announced in the weekly CERT emails), including moulage (wound makeup), a tour of the Fairfax County Emergency Operations Center (EOC), and much, much more!