Community Emergency Response Team

Adams County Emergency Management Agency
1313 N. Hastings Ave.
Hastings, NE 68901

WHAT IS CERT?

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program helps train people to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations in their communities. CERT members give critical support to first responders in emergencies, provide immediate assistance to victims, organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site, and collect disaster assessments and record keeping to support first responder efforts.

INTRODUCTION

Following a major disaster, first responders who provide fire and medical services will not be able to meet the demand for these services. Factors such as number of victims, communication failures, and road blockages will prevent people from accessing emergency services they have come to expect at a moment's notice through 911. People will have to rely on each other to meet their immediate lifesaving and life sustaining needs. Thus, the need to train Adams County citizens to be able to respond to these situations and keep them safe as they perform these needed operations.

In Adams County, we also use CERT members as additional resource people to use on other emergencies such as search and rescue, traffic control or road blocks, and mass casualty events.

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM CERT TRAINING?

The CERT course will benefit any citizen who takes it, whether they want to be a volunteer on a team or an individual trained in their neighborhood. This individual will be better prepared to respond to and cope with the aftermath of a disaster. And, as a member of a team, these individuals can provide immediate assistance to victims in Adams County and help organize other citizens who have not had the training.

You must be 18 years of age or older, and in good physical condition to be a member of the active team. The participant must be able to lift up to 50 pounds of weight.

Participants 15-17 years of age, may take the training, but may not be part of the Emergency Management team till they have reached their 18th birthday. Having the knowledge will still allow for helping their family.

TRAINING

The CERT course is delivered in the community by a trained team of instructors. These instructors were trained by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

The CERT course work is delivered in 3 sessions, over a week-end of a Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday. After the classroom training is completed, participants will engage in a full scale exercise in which the trained individuals will be able to demonstrate the skills they have learned.
Contact the Adams County Emergency Management office for a current list of training dates.

CERT Training Topics

Session I, DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Addresses hazards to which people are vulnerable in their community. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during, and after a disaster. As the session progresses, the instructor begins to explore an expanded response role for civilians in that they should begin to consider themselves disaster workers. The CERT concept and organization are discussed as well as applicable laws governing volunteers in that jurisdiction.

Session II, DISASTER FIRE SUPPRESSION: Briefly covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards, and fire suppression strategies. However, the thrust of this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, sizing up the situation, controlling utilities, and extinguishing a small fire.

Session III, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS PART I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding, and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.

Session IV, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS, PART II:
Covers evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area, performing basic first aid, and practicing in a safe and sanitary manner.

Session V, LIGHT SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, cribbing techniques, search techniques, rescue techniques, and most important, rescuer safety.

Session VI, DISASTER PSYCHOLOGY AND TEAM ORGANIZATION: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and worker. It addresses CERT organization and management principles and the need for documentation.

Session VII, TERRORISM AND CERT: Participants will learn how CERT training can be used during terroristic attacks. Discusses B-NICE weapons and identifying terrorism targets in the community.

Session VIII, TRAINING EXERCISE: CERT members will demonstrate skills learned by participation in a practical exercise. Students will perform a hands-on exercise to demonstrate that they have acquired the skills necessary to handle an emergency situation.

PARTNERS IN CERT

The Adams County Emergency Management Agency is the lead agency of the CERT program. The Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) also is involved with CERT in providing assistance in response to commercial emergencies and events.

CONCLUSION:

CERT is about readiness, people helping people, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number. CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens will be initially on their own and their actions can make a difference.

Through training, citizens can manage utilities and put out small fires, treat life threatening injuries, provide basic medical aid, search for and rescue victims safely, and organize themselves and untrained volunteers to be effective players in an emergency.

If you are interested in becoming a CERT member or seek additional information, please contact the Adams County Emergency Management Agency.