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Neighbors learning to help neighbors

West Midlands Emergency Ambulance
West Midlands Emergency Ambulance
Ell Brown,

I just finished two days of training in Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT).

I didn't do this as a credentialed Examiner writer.

I did it because I'm your neighbor. In an emergency, neighbors help neighbors.

If you have a bunker and you want to stay there, go ahead. I won't bother you. It's unlikely that anyone will.

However, if you're like most persons then you will want to help others in case of an emergency.

If so then you need to do it safely, in a way consistent with how professionals do it, so that you don't make the situation worse.

The easiest way to learn, disaster response for beginners, is through CERT.

The concept is rooted in the work of the City of Los Angeles Fire Department, which recognized that citizens would be on their own and helping each other in the event of disaster, especially earthquakes, in 1985.

CERT is supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which picked it up in 1994.

There are now over 1100 CERT groups across the country.

In two days, I learned about

- basic first aid
- American Heart Association Heartsaver CPR
- disaster psychology
- how to recognize and protect myself from hazardous materials
- how to search a building during light search-and-rescue operations
- how to extinguish a fire

- local resources and dangers, including the events that are most likely to happen near me

I'm not an expert in any of these things and I won't be rolling out to wrecks or house fires, but I am the average guy who wants to help when something goes wrong or someone gets hurt nearby.

Now I know a bit more. I want to help anyway but I can do more and do it safely, without putting myself into danger or making the problem worse.

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