Citizens ready to help if a disaster strikes

Posted: Monday, November 06, 2006

 

  Participants set up a medical care triage area in a disaster drill held as part of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training program held in October at the PRISM Fire Training Center in Kenai. Patty Eissler, at right, tends to the pretend casualties, Jewell Briggs, lying down, John Bittle, seated, and another unknown man. Photo courtesy of Glenda Landua

Participants set up a medical care triage area in a disaster drill held as part of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training program held in October at the PRISM Fire Training Center in Kenai. Patty Eissler, at right, tends to the pretend casualties, Jewell Briggs, lying down, John Bittle, seated, and another unknown man.

Photo courtesy of Glenda Landua

A Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training was held Oct. 16, 18, 20 and 21 at the PRISM Fire Training Center in Kenai.

Fourteen citizens from the Kenai, Soldotna and Sterling areas and numerous emergency response personnel participated, including Sam Satathite, Abe Porter Capt. Eric Wilcox, John Harris and Chris Cushman with the Kenai Fire Department; Mitch Langseth with the Kenai Police Department; Keith Randall, chaplain with Central Emergency Services; Cory Lehl with the Nikiski Fire Department; Deputy Cadet Commander John Bittle with the Civil Air Patrol, and cadets Jewell Briggs, Pat Peters, Jesse Cobb, Paul Adams, Jenna French, Cole Chase, Carolyn Knackstedt and Eric Cole; and Glenda Landua, Citizen Corps program coordinator.

This particular class was organized from a waiting list of interested people. The list was generated from health and safety fairs as well as through program presentations to community organizations. Prior classes have been organized through local community schools programs (Soldotna, Homer and Seward) and advertised in the paper and on the radio.

The CERT program is a partnership between first responders and the communities they serve. CERT training prepares people to take care of themselves and others in the event of a disaster.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough encompasses over 25,000 square miles of varied landscape and weather patterns. Flooding, hurricane-force winds, extreme cold, avalanches, volcanic activity, earthquakes and tsunamis are a few of the hazards in our area that can have a drastic impact. If the event is serious enough, emergency response resources, communications, transportation and utilities may all be disrupted. In a large-scale event, such as a major earthquake, it’s conceivable that communities will be temporarily cut off from each other, outside support and emergency services and supplies.

CERT training is intended to train people to care for themselves and work as a team to care for their neighborhood, school, business or surrounding community until help arrives.

The CERT training that just concluded included sessions on:

· Disaster preparedness — information about local hazards and steps that people can take to prepare their family, home and workplace.

· Fire suppression — basics about fire behavior, fire suppression techniques and personal and team safety.

· Emergency first aid and triage — basic assessment and emergency first aid skills to help in situations with many casualties and life-threatening injuries.

· Team organization: familiarization with basic incident command system structure and team organization skills to quickly organize teams to provide the most help for the most people.

· Disaster psychology — information about the emotional environment rescuers will encounter and steps that can be taken to relieve stress for themselves and those of disaster survivors.

· Terrorism and CERT — the definition of terrorism and what type of targets and risks there may be in our area, types of weapons, risks, CERT protocols and protective actions.

· Disaster drill — a simulated disaster, which provided an opportunity for class participants to exercise their skills.

CERT training is offered through the Kenai Peninsula Citizen Corps Program in the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management. It is a grant-funded program, which works with emergency response organizations to provide emergency preparedness information and training to borough residents. The training is ability oriented, which means everyone — no matter their age or physical ability — are encouraged to attend. CERT training is ideal for neighborhoods, schools, clubs and organizations, faith communities, amateur radio operators and businesses — in short, any group of people who live or work near each other or are together on a regular basis. Disasters, after all, aren’t confined to work days, evenings, weekends or any other schedule.

For more information about CERT training or to sign up for future classes, call or e-mail Glenda Landua at 262-2098 or glandua@borough.kenai.ak.us.

Glenda Landua is the Citizen Corps coordinator in the in the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management.



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