To prepare citizens to take care of themselves and their neighbors during disaster situations until help arrives, the Emergency Services Coordinating Agency is offering Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training starting on Wednesday, Jan. 15 and concluding on Wednesday, March 5.
The Emergency Services Coordinating Agency (ESCA) is a local government emergency management organization created by the cities of Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park, Mill Creek, Mukilteo, Woodinville, and the Town of Woodway.
Firefighters, EMTs, Emergency Managers and CERT Program Managers will lead the three-hour CERT classes on eight consecutive Wednesday evenings, 7-10 p.m. Classes will take place at the Northshore Fire Department, 7220 NE 181st St. in Kenmore.
Class participants will extinguish small fires with firefighters, learn disaster first aid including triage and treatment, conduct urban search and rescue to extricate people trapped in buildings, and perform other vital skills needed to help others in a disaster environment.
ESCA officials point out that the Pacific Northwest is subject to several natural hazards; earthquakes, severe winter storms, urban flooding, and damaging high winds can all cause an emergency to quickly escalate into a disaster situation. Citizens can suddenly be without electricity and water, need temporary shelter, and even emergency medical care. While cities have enough fire fighters, police and paramedics to respond to emergency situations on a routine basis, in a disaster situation when many people may need help simultaneously, emergency responders may not be immediately available to meet the needs of everyone calling 911, that is if the phones are even working.
As local government emergency managers at the ESCA are coordinating the efforts to bring special teams, supplies, and equipment into the region to augment city disaster responders, citizens should be prepared to help themselves and one another until help arrives.
Disaster response history shows ordinary citizens want to help, but they need training to operate in the post-disaster environment and understand the disaster response organization.
Upon completion of the classes, trained CERT members have the option to become part of a volunteer disaster response team that may deploy with professional responders.