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#152549 - 10/20/08 09:51 PM CERT - is it worth it?
Nishnabotna Offline
Icon of Sin

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 512
Loc: Nebraska
Of course, I imagine your results may vary depending on who's running the org in your area, but is the basic program worthy of looking into? Who here has done/is doing it?

#152561 - 10/20/08 10:09 PM Re: CERT - is it worth it? [Re: Nishnabotna]
TeacherRO Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2513
I've thought about getting the training, but haven't yet. Interested to hear from those that have

#152566 - 10/20/08 10:45 PM Re: CERT - is it worth it? [Re: Nishnabotna]
Arney Offline

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 2485
Loc: California
I don't know if it is universal like the CERT curriculum, but I'm in the middle of an 8-week program called the Community Emergency Preparedness Academy (CEPA). Our city sponsors CEPA while other neighboring jurisdictions have the traditional CERT programs. I've never taken a CERT course, but the curriculum overlaps signficantly with CEPA so my comments probably apply to both.

I would say that if you are already preparedness-minded and have already educated yourself about various topics, much of the information in CERT training could be quite basic for you. Of course, some speakers are much more interesting than others, so even basic information can be presented in an interesting way. However, beyond just the information, there is no substitute for actually doing certain things.

For example, we just had CPR with AED training last week. It's been 15 years since I pounded on one of those CPR dummies, so I think the practice was well worth it. I also have never gotten any hands-on time with an AED, so that was a good thing for me. One other hands-on thing so far was practicing with dry chem extinguishers which was also kind of fun.

CEPA has made me more aware of the various public safety agencies around me because these are the folks leading many of the lectures. Before now, I really never had much contact with law enforcement or fire folks around here, but we also have lectures from people from the local hospital, the Red Cross, or reps from the local utility companies. Plus, I've met some nice fellow residents, so I look forward to the weekly classes.

We have a couple families and I think that's wonderful. There's one woman and her two teenage kids who come every week. I think that sets a great example for the next generation.

I heard CERT mentioned on the local news the other day. The first time I think I've ever heard the word mentioned on TV, actually. During our first Santa Ana winds of the season, there was the Sesno fire near the Porter Ranch gated community. The fire started mid-morning, so lot's of folks were hurrying back from work to go home and grab stuff but the authorities did no want any vehicles going back into the community. So the folks standing out in the roadway at the main gate telling people that they couldn't drive back inside were CERT volunteers and the news reporter actually mentioned it. I thought that was pretty cool, but only viewers who had any idea what CERT was would have any clue what that meant.

Oh, if you're wondering why there is a CEPA and a CERT program, I learned that one main goal of CERT is to create a reserve corp of residents who can assist first responders in times of need. CEPA is more about educating people to be able to take care of themselves and their neighbors when public services are swamped, so we get most of the same training as CERT, but we aren't going to be "called up" after an earthquake to help search a neighborhood or whatever other million things that CERT folks might assist with. We're just ordinary folks who have had some disaster preparedness training.

#152572 - 10/20/08 11:18 PM Re: CERT - is it worth it? [Re: Arney]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
My understanding of CERT vs CEPA is the same as Arney's. Its all good. I took the first CERT class in a town where the fire department doesn't have any immediate plans to integrate CERT teams into their response plans - not that I blame them, until we build a critical mass of CERT trained folks who stay interested and maintain / extend our training I wouldn't want to rely on us either. Until then, we act mainly as CEPA, taking care of our friends and family with a bit more training on the basics. CERT in California I understand is totally different - plenty of volunteers, a high level of organization, and they are highly motivated to take part in training necessary to rely on them in disaster scenarios. CERT has some history with Northridge, Loma Prieta etc.

CERT training did springboard me into training for Red Cross shelter work, which got me interested in emergency management, and I'm interested in pursuing a master's degree in that now, in middle age. I've extended my first aid training to a level of comfort with the types of injuries I'll encounter. I became a ham to improve my chances of communicating. Its always better to have folks know what to expect in a disaster, whether its a hazmat release, winter storm, tornado or earthquake. Your own piece of mind should go up if you go through CERT, along with your general preparedness.

#152583 - 10/21/08 12:10 AM Re: CERT - is it worth it? [Re: Nishnabotna]
gryps Offline
Aspiring Ant

Registered: 05/19/06
Posts: 44
Loc: New Rochelle,NY, USA
I took the 11 week course offered in NY City. It is specifically geared to NYC, with its urban environment and accompanying infrastructure. Topics included hazards associated with public transportation (trains, bridges, etc.), high-rise buildings, and public venues. I feel that the training was worthwhile.
"In the eyes of its mother every beetle is a gazelle."-African proverb.

#152590 - 10/21/08 12:42 AM Re: CERT - is it worth it? [Re: gryps]
MichaelJ Offline

Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 114
I took the training a year ago and really liked it. It' a lot of really good background info and it's a good connection to the local EMS. The biggest benefit I've found is when talking to people about preparedness. If you just say "I'm preparing for an unknown emergency" people think you're weird. If you say "I took Community Emergency Response Team training from the local fire department." people are much more open to talk.

#152591 - 10/21/08 12:47 AM Re: CERT - is it worth it? [Re: MichaelJ]
Blast Online   happy
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3633
Loc: TX
If you just say "I'm preparing for an unknown emergency" people think you're weird. If you say "I took Community Emergency Response Team training from the local fire department." people are much more open to talk.

Very good point.
I was supposed to start CERT training last month but the classes were put on hold until the damages of hurricane Ike have repaired.

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#152641 - 10/21/08 12:21 PM Re: CERT - is it worth it? [Re: Blast]
ki4buc Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/10/03
Posts: 710
Loc: Augusta, GA
Originally Posted By: Blast

I was supposed to start CERT training last month but the classes were put on hold until the damages of hurricane Ike have repaired.


That sucks. This would be the perfect time to start a class, the reason for the training would be in everyone's mind.

I'm a CERT instructor, and what is covered is Basic First Aid and Triage, Light Search and Rescue, Basic Firefighting, and basic Emergency Preparedness. Also included is a coverage of Terrorism, Hazardous Materials, Disaster Psychology, Incident Command System and Administrative procedures.

After seeing gryps post, perhaps I should mosey down to NYC for those specific NYC classes and see what I can learn.

#152649 - 10/21/08 12:52 PM Re: CERT - is it worth it? [Re: Arney]
paramedicpete Offline

Registered: 04/09/02
Posts: 1920
Loc: Frederick, Maryland

If a CERT Team member is injured while providing assistance during an event, who covers their medical and or disability expenses? If a CERT Team member is injured or disabled and is unable to work, do they have some sort of legal protection from being discharged from their place of employment?

Our county looked at participating in Fire Corp., a citizen based organization similar to CERT, which provides non-hazardous support to fire companies. However, when the County Risk Manager looked at the liability the county would have to assume, the county decided not to pursue participation.


#152655 - 10/21/08 01:24 PM Re: CERT - is it worth it? [Re: paramedicpete]
Nishnabotna Offline
Icon of Sin

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 512
Loc: Nebraska
That is a great question.

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