CERT was first conceptualized by the LA County Fire Department in the mid-1980’s considering the ever-looming threat of a large earthquake and wide-area destruction. The need for training civilians to meet their immediate resource needs was confirmed in 1987 with Whittier Narrows quake which registered at 5.9 in magnitude. Often it is true that the first person available to try to help save others in a disaster situation is an untrained person at the scene. However, this usually leads to creating additional risks and injury to both the victim and the would-be rescuer. We never know when disaster will strike and this why we train.
This month’s training exercise covered interior search and recovery. CERT is trained to perform light search and rescue, which only involves structures with light to moderate structural damage. However, it remains critical for the team to know how to effectively size up the situation in which they will operate and to have the proper skills to execute a search to safely enter buildings to locate, triage and take appropriate action for safely removing victims. The CERT team practiced common techniques for systematically searching the interior, the use of safe techniques for debris removal and survivor extrication, and ways to protect rescuers during search and rescue operations.
EastTex Regional CERT conducts monthly training instruction and exercises, which focus on the skills the team is most likely to employ. CERT volunteers are trained to respond safely, responsibly, and effectively to emergency situations, but they also support the community during non-emergency events as well. Check the calendar on our website for dates and times for upcoming training classes and events.
CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) is an all-volunteer organization through FEMA to help educate and organize local communities in the event of a disaster. EastTex CERT services Rockwall, Kaufman, Hunt, and Collin Counties. If you’re interested in joining, you can sign up by visiting our JOIN CERT page.