Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

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Mark and I took the course called Community Emergency Response Team, also known as CERT, about six years ago. We wanted to learn how to respond to emergency situations in our community when needed. We will give critical support to people until medical personnel, paramedics, EMT’s, or firefighters come to take over.  The course will help you in your neighborhood to save lives, literally, after a disaster. I have written a few articles about the program but I want to encourage more readers to take the course, if possible.

The Community Emergency Response Team group will be the first people to come and help in your neighborhood after a disaster. The government officials will be busy trying to get to their own destinations as directed by their appropriate officials.

emergency response

This means that those of us who are trained by CERT will step up to the plate and do things we have been trained to do. In most cases, we are not medically trained. If you think about it, the medical personnel will be heading to clinics, hospitals, and makeshift medical care facilities. So our neighborhood and community will be helping each other, hopefully.

The course teaches you what to do after any disaster, how to choose someone to be in charge and right down to the colors of tape needed for letting others know which condo, home, or apartment dwelling is in need, or not. You need to have someone in charge of emergency response very quickly after a disaster.

emergency response

Here are the contents above in my backpack: C.E.R.T. book to log homes and people, different colors of tape to mark the assessment of the injured people (red=needs immediate help, yellow=delay/not immediate, green means they are ok to wait for assistance, black=death), hardhat, Berkey Sports Bottle for filtering water, goggles, headlamp, work gloves, and a 4 in 1 tool (shown below), C.E.R.T. vest, light sticks and scissors, and N-95 masks.

emergency response

We all need to be aware of where to shut off our water, electricity and gas lines. We also need to know where to shut off our water inside our homes. Of course, we would never shut off gas unless we can smell gas….or a fire is coming our way…common sense needs to be used. Nitrile gloves, N-95 masks (you can never have enough of them), BandAids, yellow chalk, yellow caution tape, and paint sticks for makeshift splints.

I have talked about this before, but I will mention it again. Here’s the deal, after a power outage, for example, during the first 24 hours you will look to see if the neighbors have lights. Hmmm, they don’t. The next 24 hours you will go check with your neighbors to see if they know what’s going on. The first 24 hours may not be a big deal, depending on the type of disaster or emergency, but the next 48 hours could be critical if people don’t start looking out for each other. It’s during the second 24 hours that people realize they have not prepared themselves for disaster by storing food, water, and other items we’ve talked about on this blog for years. This is when people may get mean, okay, let’s just say they WILL be mean if they are not prepared at all.

Hunger and being thirsty is not a pretty thing, and seeing your family look at you for food and water will be awful if you have not planned ahead. Please remember, we must be self-reliant, the government will not deliver any food or water for days, weeks or months possibly. I want you to think about what’s in your house this very minute, that may be all the food and water, toilet paper, soap, etc. you have for a very long time.

The roads may be so damaged you can’t drive on them. The stores are closed due to a major disaster. If the stores are open the shelves will be empty within 24 hours or less.

Community Emergency Response Team

Here are some of the things you will learn if you take all of the classes. My two favorite things in the class were learning to use a fire hose (it’s heavy and awkward to use) and listening to a doctor trained in psychological first aid.

  1. Disaster Preparedness
  2. Fire Safety
  3. Disaster Medical Operations-Part 1
  4. Disaster Medical Operations-Part 2
  5. Light Search and Rescue Operations
  6. CERT Organization
  7. Disaster Psychology
  8. Terrorism and CERT
  9. Course Review and Disaster Simulation

We NEED to be able to take care of ourselves. We can’t always depend on our government or local authorities. They can only do so much. Let me give you some statistics for OUR area in Southern Utah. These statistics are a year old, but none the less please check out these numbers in my St. George, Utah (Washington County) area. These are about to change because we have some hospital expansions going on right now. We have on average 140,000 people living here. Washington County has 17 ambulances, 46 fire trucks, 204 police cars. We have two hospitals with a total of 145 beds available. These numbers are scary….we can’t depend on anyone but ourselves. Please check out your local numbers. You might just be surprised…..or maybe not! You might want to Google “The Volunteer Protection Act of 1997”. Check it out for yourselves. C.E.R.T. classes

My Favorite Things:

CERT Emergency Response Supplies

4-In-1 Tool

Emergency Response Flashlights

Tape Needed For Homes/People

How To Deal With Mental Health

Copyright pictures:

Disaster: AdobeStock_169465415 mbruxelle

21 thoughts on “Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

  • April 8, 2018 at 7:59 am
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    Great article and well said. Im a member of CERT in Indiana. We struggle to get people interested in joining and I truely do not understand it. It is as if they feel like nothing bad will ever happen.

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    • April 8, 2018 at 9:34 am
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      Hi, Rich, thank you for commenting! I love hearing you are a member of CERT in Indiana. I don’t understand why people don’t get involved either. I wish we could more people in my neighborhood certified. I’m not sure what people think but we MUST have a plan and be prepared for whatever hits our community. They may be on their own and will not know what to do. We can’t do it all. I hope people read this post an realize we need to work together as a team. Linda

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  • April 8, 2018 at 8:44 am
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    Good post, Linda. Our area hasn’t had CERT training in a very long time (I’ve been waiting) but I’m looking forward to it. We’re prepared and we live in a very rural area so most people are prepared to a certain extent. Lots of new city folks moving out and I’m not so sure about them. Thanks for the encouragement.

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    • April 8, 2018 at 9:36 am
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      Hi, Debbie, I love hearing you and your family are prepared for the unexpected. Our community has ongoing classes but very few attend. I sometimes wonder if those who are not involved in any way in our community think things will magically help them after a disaster. Nope, that’s not going to happen. You and I can sleep at night knowing we are prepared in MANY ways. Linda

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  • April 8, 2018 at 9:24 am
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    My husband and I belong to CERT. You are right, it is a great organization. 

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    • April 8, 2018 at 9:38 am
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      Hi, Julie, Thanks for commenting, so glad you and your husband are certified in CERT. It’s a great organization that I wish more people would take advantage of the training. I love learning new skills! Linda

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  • April 9, 2018 at 9:44 am
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    Hi Linda,

    I was in the first CERT classes in Indiana , then I became a TTT for CERT, many years ago. We started CERT classes here in North Idaho, first ever and have over 70 member now. We did that in 3 classes.
    Most of US are also Ham operators, Firefighters, Medical Responders., Law enforcement and Search and Rescue. We have a great team up here in Bonner county, North Idaho.
    Great story and info.

    Ranger Rick

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    • April 9, 2018 at 2:31 pm
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      Hi, Ranger Rick, you know I love hearing this!!! You have 70 members, that’s awesome! Your group is awesome!!!! Good job! Linda

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  • April 9, 2018 at 9:11 pm
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    I’ve been “prepping” for more than 40 years and have volunteered with our local county EMA for nearly 20. Our EMA supports the professional first responders in the area and also provides backup / secondary communications via amateur radio.
    I finally took the CERT training this past January & February and a group of us plan to take the TTT course this summer.
    While I had to suffer through the morse code when I became a ham back in the 1970’s, the elimination of the code requirement has made getting a license relatively easy and decent radios are now available in the $20-40 range, so I think it is imperative for everyone to get a license and a radio and work that into your teams. For CERT to integrate with the other first responders, it would be good for everyone to understand the Incident Command System (ICS) and the National Incident Management System (NIMS). These systems are what all of the agencies use and what allows a team from Ohio to head to Texas or Louisiana and fit right in.
    A Search for ICS 100, ICS 200, and ICS 700 will give you links to free online training, and is a great next step for CERT and ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) volunteers.

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    • April 10, 2018 at 7:09 am
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      Hi, Ohio Prepper, wow, I love all this information! The state of Ohio has their act together! Awesome! We could only get a few here in Southern Utah to take CERT. Oh, my goodness, the morse code, those were the days when that was needed for the ham back in the days. Great tips, I really appreciate your comment today. My readers will love it as do I! Linda

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      • April 11, 2018 at 2:59 pm
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        Inda,
        First of all, does this site support HTML tags like quote & bold?

        Hi, Ohio Prepper, wow, I love all this information!
        I like being involved and have instructed preparedness, survival, firearms, radio & electronics areas for decades. I frequent MD Creekmore’s sites and I’m new to this one, but since I’m now retired, will continue to make this a daily visit also.

        The state of Ohio has their act together! Awesome! We could only get a few here in Southern Utah to take CERT.
        Actually it’s not the state as much as local county people, mostly in the rural counties like the one where I live and many of those surrounding it. Every place has its potential disastrous events; but, here the most threatening would be Tornado’s, followed in part by blizzards and flooding in some areas, along with power outages. I live about 20 miles east of the highest Point in Ohio and our activities are due in large part to the rural nature of the people who know full well what can happen with a power outage, and I think make better neighbors than most city people. In short, at night with the power out, you really understand the meaning of dark, LOL.
        For anyone interested in some close up tornado photos, here are some I took bak in November of 2002, some within 2 miles of my property.
        theohioprepper.org/Tornado2002/ Note that I did not take all of these, and many were shared after the event, by local neighbors.

        Oh, my goodness, the morse code, those were the days when that was needed for the ham back in the days.
        Yes it was. I learned it and used it; but, with the advent of Internet and Cell Phones the hobby was declining, so the new smaller number of license classes with no code has gotten more people into the hobby. We just recently finished a 6 week class and a test session and gained 13 new hams, ranging in age from 14 to mid 60’s. I unfortunately left my Morse code skill slip and I’m now relearning what may be the best emergency communication mode we have.

        Great tips, I really appreciate your comment today. My readers will love it as do I!
        I plan to keep coming back, since I suspect this forum could be much like the one MD has, building a community where we can all support and learn from each other.

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  • April 10, 2018 at 2:13 pm
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    Great Article! I was (recently “retired”) from a CERT team after 10 years. Lots of good info!!
    I was “lead” on our local Disaster Medical modules.. I had 2 other folks that helped out as well… one was a Pediatric Nurse and the other was a Combat Medic(National Guard) Most CERT teams have good/great people staffing them and that’s what makes the whole thing work!!! I’m glad to see this “well worth it ” course out there for people to get into!

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    • April 10, 2018 at 2:16 pm
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      Hi, Steve, wow, you had some great people included in your group, you rock! You were the lead, I love it! I really like hearing people are getting involved in their community, this is a really great group. We will need all the people we can to get through what’s going on in the world today. Thank you, Linda

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  • April 11, 2018 at 9:16 am
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    Another CERTS member here. Our community uses us for all sorts of things.Support staff for drug take back, support for free immunization clinics, The course really opened my eyes to just how unprepared most people are for an emergency.

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    • April 11, 2018 at 11:24 am
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      Hi Catherine, oh how I LOVE your comment today! This course really does open our eyes to how unprepared most people are for any emergency or disaster. I sometimes wonder why? Why do people not get it? So glad to hear you took the course! Thank you!!!! Linda

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  • April 12, 2018 at 1:14 am
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    Stop, just stop. CERT “training” is just a feel good measure for citizens that think they are going to help.  Relax it isn’t going to happen. As a paramedic for a large (top ten cities) municipal service I can tell you without a doubt you will be of zero value.  Great you figured out some people need help and you are going to do what? Start COR in a major disaster? Never going to work out.  Decide some one is a “red” patient? They need to go first but every ambulance is an hour away.  But wait “I’ll tell dispatch I’m CERT certified so they will give me priority” nope they won’t.  If you want to take a CERT class to make yourself feel better go ahead but please stop acting like this will be usefull in a real event much less a SHTF event. You know how I know? Because it has NEVER  been use in any real event.  Not one.  If you don’t believe me still then go ask a real LEO or Firefighter or Medic ( not some jolly volly) if they would EVERi incorporate a CERT person into any scene and the answer is no.  

    Have a nice pretend life. 

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    • April 12, 2018 at 10:17 am
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      Feeheel by your comments you have never been deployed to a real disaster. In my past 43 years of Fire Service, 24 years as Chief of Department I have used CERT team members on quite a few wildfires and storm events. It is true that CERT training is a feel good for the average citizen who wants to know how they can help if these events strike their community. We use C
      ERT as an awareness tool to train the citizens in Incident Command and Situational Awareness. They also understand the need for a family disaster preparedness plan. We get a payback from these folks when we are asking the elected officials for increased funding or in our case asked the public for a voter approved millage increase. The CERT trained individuals are the ones who call their elected officials and support our request for these projects.
      We are not a top ten city as you work for. Our county FD has 54 engines, 6 trucks, 20 ALS rescues and over 20 trained CERT teams.

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      • April 12, 2018 at 10:27 am
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        Hi, Chief 600 retired, AMEN! I LOVE LOVE LOVE your comment! Thank you from the bottom of my heart! We need CERT people to help where we can! Linda

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  • May 7, 2018 at 4:01 am
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    Reply
    • May 7, 2018 at 7:11 am
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      Hi Corrine, wow, you have a miracle to share with the world, thank you so much! Happy Birthday by the way! I really believe diet, herbs, and exercise can improve our health. You have shown us that today! THANK YOU!!!! Linda

      Reply

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