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CERT Drill is Better than Lecture

June 9, 2012

I’ve been taking a CERT course from my local fire department.  The premiss behind the class is that there is only one fire fighter/EMT for each 1500 people.  EMTs are a scarce, well trained, and well equipped resource.  Unfortunately, it won’t take much of a fire/earthquake/power failure to keep them very busy.  The CERT course covers basic safety, first aid, search and rescue, and disaster management.  Yeah, that is what the chapters say, but it reminds me of the boy scout handbook on steroids.  Add a layer of our-lawyers-made-us-say-that spread over the top.  That was the lecture, and they were worthwhile.  The drills are an entirely different story.

The drills worked.  They were not real or realistic, but they were a surprise, and the fire department personnel did a great job at setting the scene.  Yeah, most of us will only use the training to help our relative who has a sprained ankle.  A large earthquake will be a very different situation with sirens and plumes of smoke in every direction.  We worked in a blacked out building searching with flashlights for a few volunteers and manikins.   That training helped because being lost in the dark is very different from reading a text.  It is also a far cry from the real thing.  The air is clear and no one is screaming during these drills.I am not eager to use this training.  I’d hate to have to use it the same way I’d hate to have to use a fire extinguisher.  I remain glad that I took the training if I ever need the skills.  (Yes, we did practice with simple fire extinguishers during the drill.)  I plan to go to the rest of the monthly exercises.  They too will be a lot different from the lectures.  Wow.

Thank you to all fire/EMS personnel.  What you do is a lot different from my desk job.


Rob, the grateful

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