"CERT", as it is called, is short for "Community Emergency Responce Team". Each CERT person is organized and trained in accordance with standard operating procedures developed by the sponsoring agency which, in our case, is San Bernadino County, the largest county in California. We are located in the "Inland Empire'' section, of the lower south-eastern part of California. Yes, we are in the desert, it is a sparsely populated area with a cluster of small towns and horse farms.
The CERT Program can provide an effective first-response capability. Acting as individuals first, then later as members of teams. Being so rural, we have different challenges than the people who live in a big city like Los Angeles.
When a “Disaster” strikes, such as, damage caused by earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, wild fires and/or flooding. The devastation caused by a natural disaster of such magnitude, would probably encompass a large area and, most people would agree that each of these events, would impact every one of us in some way. However, an accident caused by man, such as a gas explosion, oil truck accident, train or plane wreck, would these events affect us? The answer is yes, remember, disasters come in all sizes. Can we agree that a disaster affects more than just us? Since everyone, in some ways, is affected, from government services to private businesses, to civic activities and to ourselves. Any one of these can weigh heavily on our emergency response resources.This could create a larger situation, by damaged roads, or train rails, bridges or disrupted communications can any or all of these restrict the access of emergency responses? Yes, when communications, or transportation, and/or, utilities are affected, these will compromise the professional emergency resources to many individuals or neighborhoods resulting in them to be cut off from outside support. To have any of these compromised means someone or a whole neighberhood may be without help for somewhere in the time frame of one to three days. In some cases, it has been recorded that some individuals and neighborhood’s have been without food, water, first-aid, fire protection and shelter for up to three weeks or even longer. It is without question that, an individuals preparedness, planning, knowledge of survival skills, and mutual co-operation within our neighborhoods and work places will have an affect during this initial period and is essential for coping with the aftermath of a disaster. What you do today, will have a critical impact on the quality of your survival and your ability to help others safely and effectively. Emergency services personnel such as a trained CERT are the best trained and equipped to handle emergencies when the professionals are not available. Following a catastrophic disaster you and the community may be on your own for a period of time because of the size of the area affected, lost communications, and inpassable roads, whether it is caused by a natural event or from something man made. Your CERT Basic Training is designed to prepare you to help yourself and to help others in the event of a catastrophic disaster. Your CERT training can make a difference when emergency service personnel will not be able to help everyone immediately, you can.
The Cert's are also trained to set up what is called a staging area. This is where the fire department and other services will interact with CERTs. Having a centralized contact point makes it possible to communicate damage assessments and allocate volunteer resources more effectively. This is true for all CERTs, whether active in a neighborhood, workplace, school, college/university campus, or other venue.
Damage from disasters may vary considerably from one location to another. ln an actual disaster, Cert members are taught to assess their own needs and the needs of those in their immediate environment first.
CERT members who encounter no need in their immediate area then report to their staging area, where they take on assigned roles based on overall area needs. Members who find themselves in a heavily affected location send runners to staging areas to get help from available resources. Ham and other radio links also may be used to increase communication capabilities and coordination. Certs are also trained to
extinguish small fires, turn off the natural gas lines at a damaged home. They are also taught how to perform a light search and rescue, and render basic medical treatment. CERTs also act as effective "eyes and ears" for uniformed emergency responders. Trained volunteers also offer an important potential workforce to service organizations in non-hazardous functions such as shelter support, crowd control, and evacuation.
lf available, emergency services personnel are the best trained and equipped to handle emergencies. Following a catastrophic disaster, however, you and the community may be on your own for a period of time. Either because of the size of the area affected, lost communications, or unpassable roads. CERT Basic Training is designed to prepare you to help yourself and to help others in the event of a catastrophic disaster. It is because the emergency services personnel may not be able to help everyone immediately. You can make a difference by using your CERT training to save lives and protect property. This training covers basic skills that are important to know in a disaster when emergency services are not available. With training and practice, and by working as a team, you will be able to protect yourself and do the greatest good for the greatest number of people in the least amount of time. (our moto)