The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and the Coconino County Emergency Management Division will present a (three) day Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training class at the High Country Fire-Rescue Station located at 6593 High Country Lane off of Highway 64. More than fifty CERT classes have been delivered to urban, rural and reservation communities throughout Coconino County.
The class will be held at the High Country Fire-Rescue Station beginning Friday, January 23, 2015 from 6 pm to 9 pm, Saturday, January 24, 2015 from 8 am to 5 pm and Sunday January 25, 2015 from 8 am to 5 pm. This training session is offered to all community members free of charge.
CERT Classes are offered by the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and upon successful completion each participant will receive a Community Emergency Response Basic Certification and a back pack containing basic community emergency first responder gear to include Reflective Vest, Hard Hat, Eye Protection, Gloves, A four in One Tool and a CERT Field Response Guide.
Successful participants who wish to serve their community will be invited to join a team in Coconino County and will receive additional in-service training and will assist their local First Responders during Emergency and Non-Emergency events. CERT Team members in Flagstaff meet monthly for additional training. CERT Volunteers have been utilized during responses to Wild Land Fires, Flooding, Tornados, Heavy Snow Storms and many other natural disasters. CERT Volunteers have served in a variety of capacities to include staffing road blocks, assisting with neighborhood evacuation notification, staffing joint information call centers, assisting with Incident Command Centers, distributing neighborhood safety information and in many other areas. Community members who would like additional information or who wish to register for the basic training that will be conducted at the High Country Fire-Rescue Station are encouraged to call the Community Programs Office of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office at (928) 226-5089.
Following a major disaster, first responders who provide fire and medical services may not be able to meet the demand for these services. Factors such as number of victims, communication failure, and road blockages will prevent people from accessing emergency services they have come to expect at a moment’s notice through 911. People will have to rely on each other for help in order to meet their immediate lifesaving and life sustaining needs.
One also expects that under these kinds of conditions, family members, fellow employees, and neighbors will spontaneously try to help each other. This was the case following the Mexico City earthquake where untrained, spontaneous volunteers saved 800 people. However, 100 people lost their lives while attempting to save others. This is a high price to pay and is preventable through training.
If we can predict that emergency services will not meet immediate needs following a major disaster, especially if there is no warning as in a wild land fire, and people will spontaneously volunteer, what can the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office do to prepare citizens for this eventuality?
First, citizens should be aware of the facts about what to expect following a major disaster in terms of immediate services.
Second, they are given the message about their responsibility for mitigation and preparedness.
Third, they are trained in the areas of needed lifesaving skills with emphasis on decision making skills, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number. Fourth, they are organized into teams so that they are an extension of first responder services offering immediate help to victims until professional services arrive.
Basic CERT Training addresses the following areas:
Session I, DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Addresses hazards to which people are vulnerable in their community. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during, and after a disaster.
Session II, DISASTER FIRE SUPPRESSION: Briefly covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards, and fire suppression strategies. However, the thrust of this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, sizing up the situation, controlling utilities, and extinguishing a small fire.
Session III, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS PART I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding, and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.
Session IV, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS, PART II: Covers evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area, performing basic first aid, and practicing in a safe and sanitary manner.
Session V, LIGHT SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques, and most important, rescuer safety.
Session VI, DISASTER PSYCHOLOGY AND TEAM ORGANIZATION: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and worker. It addresses CERT organization and management principles and the need for documentation.
Session VII, COURSE REVIEW AND DISASTER SIMULATION: Participants review their answers from a take home examination. Finally, they practice the skills that they have learned during the previous six sessions in disaster activity.
The most important part of the CERT Training are the people who freely give their valuable time to receive what could be lifesaving information, not just for them but for their families, neighbors and community members. Many CERT Volunteers go on to receive additional training and stand ready to assist first responders whenever the call goes out.