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Are You Prepared for a Neighborhood Disaster? What can you do to become better prepared? For Free! CERT is the answer!
By Paul Goldstein

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training is a program designed to prepare Mountain View residents to help themselves, their families and neighbors, in the event of a disaster. The training covers basic skills that are important to know in a disaster when emergency services are not available. Formerly known as the Neighborhood Disaster Preparedness Training, the CERT program is free to all citizens of Mountain View.

Over the course of 7 weeks, CERT members receive training in earthquake awareness, disaster fire suppression techniques, disaster medical operations, first aid/CPR, light search and rescue as well as team organization and management. CERT Training culminates with a disaster simulation and comprehensive course review. All classes are taught by trained emergency personnel, including firefighters and emergency medical services personnel, with an emphasis on hands-on practice.

The CERT program provides an effective first-response capability. Following a disaster, CERT teams can extinguish small fires, turn off gas inlets to damaged homes, perform light search and rescue and render basic first aid. The course is taught in two different formats (each format covers the same material)

  • The Regular Course is 2.5 hours every Wednesday evening for 7 weeks, followed by a field exercise on a Saturday morning or afternoon.
  • The Accelerated Course is two full 9-hour days (Thursday & Friday), followed by a field exercise on a Saturday morning or afternoon.

In addition the course is taught in Spanish once a year, in three successive all-day Saturday sessions. The goal of the city and OMVNA is to have all of its citizens receive the training. In a real disaster, it is clear that you may be on your own for many days. CERT teams will know how to access assistance, support each others, and be able to communicate their needs to the appropriate first responders.

The CERT Training Program

Through 8 modules, you will be trained in basic self-help and mutual-aid emergency functions. Following is a brief description of each module:

Disaster Preparedness

  • Introduction to disasters
  • Impact on infrastructure
  • Building structures and nonstructural items
  • Role of CERTs in disaster response

Disaster Fire Suppression

  • Identifying and reducing potential fire hazards
  • Basic fire suppression strategy
  • Firefighting resources
  • Firefighting techniques

Disaster Medical Operations--Part 1

  • Treatment strategies for life-threatening conditions
  • Principles of triage

Disaster Medical Operations--Part 2

  • Medical operations conducted within treatment areas to which victims are sent from triage, including:
    • Head-to-toe patient assessment
    • Treatments for various injuries
    • Public health considerations

Light Search And Rescue Operations

  • Search and rescue priorities and resources
  • Techniques for situation size-up and search
  • Lifting, cribbing, and victim removal
  • Rescuer safety

Disaster Psychology And Team Organization

  • The post-disaster emotional environment
  • CERT organization
  • CERT decision-making and documentation

Terrorism and CERT

  • Define terrorism
  • Possible terrorism targets within your community
  • Biological, Nuclear, Incendiary, Chemical, and Explosive (B-NICE) weapons
  • Characteristics of B-NICE weapons
  • Actions to take following a suspected terrorism event

Course Review and Disaster Simulation

  • Hands-on application of CERT Skills during a simulated disaster, including extinguishing fires, Search & Rescue and disaster medical operations

Call (650) 903-6378 for Information, course dates, and Registration

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The OMVNA Newsletter is published by a volunteer editorial committee & distributed to some 2400 homes and businesses by volunteers.
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The opinions printed in this newsletter are not necessarily those of the OMVNA Steering Committee.

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Last updated: 6/30/06