It’s day 2 of our CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training! We officially survived the SMART (Simple Triage And Rapid Treatment) techniques of day 1 (no stuffed animal died on our watch) and now it’s time to put us into real scenarios. Now…it should be said that graduating from stuffed animals to live humans is one MAJOR step. Humans naturally feel, react, and can even go into shock in the middle of a disaster situation. Adding the human element (aka disaster psychology) definitely takes our training to the next level. We can do this GRC team!
The first part of our morning consisted of holding, rolling, wrapping, lifting, and carrying just about every single participant up, down, and around obstacles. This may sound like an extremely simple exercise, but it tested our physical ability, team coordination, and basic interactions with “survivors” of varying degrees of personal space. Trust me…you don’t really get to know your coworkers and colleagues until you’ve carried them down a few flights of stairs.
Our next hands-on learning experience related to light search and rescue operations, with the overall goals of rescuing the greatest number in the shortest amount of time. When assessing situations (environments, buildings, electricity, etc.) the safety of those performing the search should always be considered. If it’s not safe to enter a burning building, even when you can hear potential survivors screaming for help, you simply don’t enter. Safety first.
By the time afternoon came, everyone was ready for fire extinguisher training by putting out actual fires. Did you know that fire extinguishers are designed for specific types of fires? For example, extinguishers designed for ordinary combustibles wouldn’t necessarily work in putting out a metal, cooking oil, or electrical fire. In our exercises we used carbon dioxide models that left no residue (unlike dry chemical models that leave a white powder to clean up).
After a very intense, physically exhausting day carrying victims, removing debris, and putting out real fires, we were all ready to go back to our desk jobs (well almost – there’s still one more day left after all). The last and final day of training would see all of these skills put to use in a simulated disaster including real people, abandoned buildings, and lots of fake blood. Stay tuned for more details in our next blog post!
Links of Interest
- FEMA – Response and Recovery Website
- FEMA – YouTube Channel
- FEMA – Mobile Device App
- Types of Fire Extinguishers