County provides emergency training

Published on Thu, Apr 2, 2009
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The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office division of emergency management, the Whatcom County citizen corps council, and the Bellingham Technical College (BTC) are collaborating to offer community emergency response team (CERT) training to those interested in becoming better prepared if and when a major disaster occurs. The next nine-week class will held on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. beginning on April 14.

CERT training presents citizens with the facts about what to expect following a major disaster; provides actions people can take before, during, and after the event to survive and recover as effectively as possible; trains people in needed life saving skills with an emphasis on decision making, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number; and shows how to organize teams to be an extension of first responders offering immediate help to victims until professional services arrive.

This class addresses hazards, including terrorism, to which people in Whatcom County are vulnerable. Materials cover actions that participants and their families should take before, during and after a disaster. Presenters will discuss the CERT concept and organization as well as applicable laws governing volunteers.

It does not make you a fireman. It does allow you to intelligently decide whether you should try to put out a fire and to do so safely and effectively.

It also covers evaluating patients by doing head to toe assessments, establishing medical treatment areas, performing basic emergency aid, dealing with the dead, and, as much as possible, keeping a safe and sanitary environment.

Following a disaster, everyone – victims and rescuers – will be emotionally impacted.

This course covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim or by a disaster worker and gives suggestions on how to effectively combat these. The class addresses CERT organization and management principles – the same principles employed by professional responders.

Session VIII: Review and table top exercise and session IX: Full-scale disaster exercises

These last two sessions allow participants to practice the skills they have learned in both a discussion setting and in a full-scale, simulated disaster exercise.

CERT is about readiness, people helping people, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number. It is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens will be on their own for an extended period of time and when their actions can make a difference. The CERT course will benefit any citizen who takes it.

The cost for this class is $69 per student. This covers administrative costs, books, and a CERT responder’s safety kit. To register for CERT training, contact Monica Valandani, BTC Administrative Assistant, at 752-8447.

For more information on the CERT program, call Bob Jacobson, Whatcom County CERT Coordinator, at 360/398-9707.