Thursday, November 19, 2015

In times of severe wind storm and earthquake disaster how can "Community Emergency Response Team" training help?

UPDATED:  The wind storm that "inconvenienced" Redmond on Tuesday was a sorry experience, with roads closed, trees down, and 110,000 residential units without power. It was a miserable two days for us.

Spokane was especially hit hard with two dead and hundreds of trees down.  Governor Inslee declared a state of emergency in Washington State when at one time 500,000 residential units were without power.  The complete story can be found HERE.

With the storm fresh on our minds, we can now begin to think about how we could be better prepared for the next one.  Remember the wind storm of 2006 when power was down for seven days?  Terrible. What if an earthquake hit our city or region?  We are overdue for one.  Do we keep more non perishable food and water on hand?  Stock up on batteries and flashlights?  Buy a generator?  Battery powered radio?  Tune into Redmond's AM 1650 for community storm news?  Keep an extra supply of your medicines?  Plan an exit strategy from your house in case of fire?  And on......

One thing you can do is become a member of Redmond's CERT program  -- "Community Emergency Response Team".  I just graduated from the 29th class and felt really prepared for this storm and prepared for the disasters to come.  The next class is February 1, 2016 and you can go HERE to register and get more information.  Janeen Olson of the Redmond Police Department has been running the program for over six years and makes the learning fun with guest speakers (City fire specialists, police specialists, and the city Chaplin), hilarious but educational videos, snacks, prizes and more!  The course is eight weeks long -- every Monday for three hours.  You graduate as a community volunteer prepared to take care of yourself and your neighbors in time of disaster.

In the course, we learned:  Disaster Psychology, Medical, Search and Rescue, Fire Safety, Triage, Terrorism, Personal and home preparedness, and how to work in a Team with fellow CERT's during community disasters.  My favorite class was a four hour drill simulation where we played out a disaster response.  Redmond High School students take CERT classes now too.  I developed a deep appreciation and respect for our Fire and Police.

So far over four hundred Redmond residents have graduated from CERT.  There is no CPR training in this course.  If you want CPR and first aid training you can sign up for the City of Redmond's "Redmond Ready"  It's a one day class and very affordable.  Next class is January 23.

Be safe!

Bob Yoder

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