With the completion of week 3 of the Lincoln BC MO CERT training, our trainees learned about fire safety and search and rescue techniques, along with disaster psychology and how terrorism impacts CERT.
The CERT class was fortunate to have great first responders involved in the training of the classes (though we learned we need to schedule more time for the classroom AND practicals!); Warsaw Fire Protection District Volunteer Firefighter Kentton Harris taught Unit 2: Fire Safety and Lincoln Police Officer Randy Koenke taught Unit 5: Light Search and Rescue. Assistant Coordinator Kellee Bell taught the class a specific line search; the item search which teaches how to look for inanimate objects or things that can’t “answer when you call”, which was a great success!
Kentton was diligent in explaining one of the cardinal tools for CERT: the 9-Step size up. He also covered P.A.S.S. (pull, aim, squeeze, and sweep) as the proper procedure for putting out fires, how ANY hazardous materials sign is considered a STOP SIGN for CERT members, and how to report those signs so first responders know what is waiting for them on a scene.
Lincoln Police Officer Randy Koenke had quite a packed chapter to cover. His Light Search and Rescue chapter taught the CERTs how to decide on damage level, different types of line searches, completing external and internal 360 degree searches, carries and drags used to transport survivors, and more! He was able to demonstrate quite a bit of the information so CERTs received hands-on training and pointed out that the CERT method of search is the same as the method which police use in the field!
For Unit 7: Disaster Psychology, we were guided by psychology student Linzie Griffith, who brought her own experience as a former EMT who was injured and became partially paralyzed to the class. This helped her really explain the feelings she experienced, how people react during and after emergency situations, and gave a unique perspective to dealing with secondary stress for our CERT trainees.
For Unit 8: Terrorism and CERT, Benton County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Stormy Warren explained the signs of terrorism, how CERT members should respond and react, and what they should do to keep themselves safe. He brought updated information, as well as a more in-depth answer to what Benton County residents in particular can be on the lookout for, utilizing the “See something; Say something!” narrative.
Great job to our guest trainers and first responders. We thank them for their time and effort to help make our training program more robust! If you are a first responder and wish to assist with future CERT training classes, please contact Deputy Director Samantha Henley to sign up!
Our next blog will cover the practical’s day and the written test/final disaster scenario, so stay tuned!