What would you do if disaster striked the Bay Area? If you are someone who would stay and help out your community and family you should think about signing up for CERT. I’m not sure whether I’d have a “fight or flight” response, but I figured that it would be best to be well prepared in case of an emergency. I think that the classes are well worth it, and it is up to you to decide how involved you are going to be with CERT in the future.
Newark CERT http://www.newarkcert.org/ (Community Emergency Response Team) is a group of volunteers who work along with the Alameda County Fire Department to provide training to citizens in how to assist when disaster strikes. Each CERT member is assigned to one of nine districts in the city; your district depends on which elementary school you live by, or if you are by NMHS. One of the things that they reinforce in the classes is that need to take care of yourself and your family before you help the community. Make sure that you have enough supplies to last for 72 hours, and have a designated contact outside of the area that people know you will call first.
I attended the last set of CERT classes at the Silliman Center and I think some of the highlights were:
- learning triage and how it applies to disaster situations
- using a fire extinguisher, and what the differences are
- “cribbing” to lift heavy objects
- reading hazardous materials signs
- personal responsibilities during emergencies
For the final class our group went to the Union City Fire Department on a Saturday morning to practice the skills that we learned over the previous weeks. The program emphasizes that everything should be done as a team, and the training allows you to practice the skills. Plus, at the end of the classes we received a nice backpack full of gear that can be used during an emergency. I now keep it in the trunk of my car along with some items that I have added to the kit.
It benefits our entire community to have more people involved and educated in the safety of their family, friends, and neighbors. If you are interested call 510-221-6220, watch for the group at Newark Days, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. You can also sign up here: http://www.newarkcert.org/class-description/class-sign-up/. Classes last six weeks and begin Wednesday September 26th at 6-9pm in the Silliman Center.