Neighborhood emergency plan CERT training for disasters

Neighborhood Emergency Plan and family emergency plan

CERT Teams assist people before, during and after a disaster.

CERT Teams assist people before, during and after a disaster.

Feb 2013

Some community councils and neighborhoods have come up with plans for their areas to follow in the event of a major problem. In case of a disaster, CERT members should self activate by taking care of their own family, checking on their neighbors and then reporting to a designated meeting place to receive assignments. CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. To become CERT trained you can take the 21-24 hour CERT course offered by the city for $30 dollars and this will help you become prepared in disaster medical training, lifting heavy objects of someone safely, CERT organization, disaster psychology & fire suppression. Each neighborhood has different needs plan ahead.

By developing a community emergency plan you can help avoid confusion and have a clear plan for neighbors to follow. When people have an idea of what services will be available and where they can go for help this promotes peace of mind. Alternate locations should also be decided beforehand incase the primary location is too damaged to use.

Everyone should learn the basics of first aid because in an emergency such as a major earthquake you cannot depend on having the 911 service work and most of the Police, Firemen and Medical people will be reporting to Hospitals, Schools and Large buildings so the neighborhoods will be on their own. For this reason we suggest that everyone take first aid classes offered by The American Red Cross along with CPR and AED classes.

We also encourage people that are interested to become HAM radio certified which will also be very helpful in a disaster. Many times during disasters cell phones and land lines do not function properly or at all.

Some communities have passed out cards or colored flags which can indicate if you have a problem at your home or business. These flags or cards may or may not be part of each individual neighborhood’s plan. Once you have made sure your family is fine and you have checked your home to make sure there is no danger staying inside you could shelter in place or if the home was too damaged you could set up a tent in a safe area behind or on the side of your home where debris would not fall on the tent when aftershocks occur. Draw a large X on the front door or next to the front door and this will indicate that CERT teams do not need to search your home. You may use paint, marker, duct tape or construction crayons to make the X. CERT Kits will have different equipment than 72 hour kits. (Should be 120 hour kits)

Do not shut off the gas unless there is a leak. It is prudent to turn off the valves going into and out of your water heater to avoid contamination thereby providing you with safe drinking water. Make sure your water heater is secured.
What should community members do that are not CERT trained? When you are safely able to report to your community’s meeting area you can offer your assistance and talents at the volunteer check in area. When you show up to help make sure you wear as much safety equipment as possible such as safety glasses, boots, orange vest if you have one, hard hat, work gloves, flashlight, first aid kit, canteen, and such. Many tools such as gas powered chain saws may also be needed if trees are down etc…( Eagle projects could also be done making back boards or containers of bandages.)

The person in charge can decide where to best put your talents to use such as Transportation of victims, teaming up with trained CERT members to go door to door with light search and rescue checking on people, helping prepare food for workers and victims, setting up a rest area, setting up latrines (bathrooms), setting up medical areas and several others aspects. The Church naturally will take care of specific areas. Primary/Displaced children, Food Prep/ RS etc……
We are at the point where disasters are happening more frequently and the intensity has also increased so it is prudent to seek out training as soon as possible so when something does happen you will be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Make a goal to do something each month to help prepare in some way.

Author: Larry Love (801) 898 6003 – To Schedule a local CERT class call Charlie Eckhardt at (801) 641 6785 We will bring the class to you when you have 20 students. 1 time a week for 7 weeks classes start at 6:30PM to 9 or 9:30PM

Larry is a certified English/Spanish CERT trainer for Salt Lake City and has been involved in community efforts to promote readiness in his City and State.