The first week of CERT training is largely about why CERT does what it does. In the second class, Disaster Management, the students of CERT Classes 85 and 86 really started getting into the how's: How CERTs organize and respond to a disaster.
|Instructor Mike Forgy teaches the students of Class 86 the finer points of CERT organization. All photos: Joe Loong|
- Use the CALMeR command structure: Command, Accountability, Logistics, Medical, Rescue
- Rescuers should be SAFE: Survey scene; Affix tags; Fix life; Extricate victims
- Determine priorities for rescue by focusing on "Worst hurt, easiest to get out."
Then, the CERT students were told to gear up and head outside for a round-robin of stations that demonstrated the functions of Command, Accountability, Logistics, Medical, and Rescue.
|Lead Instructor Steve Willey receives a scene size-up report at the Command station.|
For Command and Accountability, CERTs got an overview of the Command function. They were taught how to pick a safe site for their Command Post, and how to begin setting up the other departments and their leaders. They learned that the CERT organization is designed to keep a commander's span of control to no more 7 persons, with the optimum being 3-5. And they learned the importance of maintaining Accountability for all team members: Being able to know who is doing what at any given time.
|Volunteer Instructor Jonathan Kiell shows Class 85 CERTs the materials gathered at a Logistics cache.|
|At the Medical station, CERT Jim McPheeters uses the contents of his CERT back to show students how to provision a Medical area.|
|CERTs of Class 85 go through the burn building as they watch a CERT Rescue team perform a building search.|
In CERT training, each class builds on what the students learned the previous classes, and lays the groundwork for the next. In the second class, CERTs began to learn how to function while wearing their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and got a view of what a disaster response looks like. Their training will get much more hands-on in the following weeks.
Joe Loong, volunteer Social Media Specialist for Fairfax County CERT, is an editorial content and community engagement consultant. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org