RIVERSIDE – Local CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) residents participated in Riverside County’s annual CERT Field Day Refresher Training at the Ben Clark Fire/Sheriff Training Center in Riverside on Saturday, Oct. 13.
CERT members learn to assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. The local Anza CERT team participants were Sandi Hughes (facilitator), Larry Hughes, Marilyn Peck, Okey Peck, Andy Cannella and Laurie Stanton. Each CERT attendee received a certificate for their event participation and completion.
At least 100 countywide participants rotated through four training modules over a five-hour period: Fire Suppression, Cribbing, Search & Rescue/Triage and Medical Operations. Trainers and volunteers from numerous emergency organizations, such as Riverside County Fire’s Office of Emergency Services and Cal Fire, orchestrated dramatized search and rescue scenarios and conducted hands-on exercises to review fire suppression and cribbing techniques.
Following a mock earthquake event, those attending the Search & Rescue module entered the darkened Fire Training Buildings to locate trapped and injured victims (medical students acting the parts) crying for help from within. CERT participants used their training skills to assist victims, while ensuring their own safety.
The injured were assessed and either walked out as “walking wounded” or were assisted using various lift and carry techniques. Once outside the buildings, CERT members from the Medical Operations module re-examined and triaged each victim, implementing basic first aid as needed for the duration prior to emergency service arrival.
CERT members participating in the Cribbing module worked on teams to safely lift and support 5,000 lb concrete blocks, simulating fallen debris from a collapsed freeway or building, an exercise valuable for possible victim extrication.
The Fire Suppression module focused on safe and effective use of fire extinguishers with a discussion about types of fires and correct retardants appropriate for each. As a bonus, CERT participants were supervised in handling a rural-grade fire hose to get a feel for the physical stamina involved with dragging the hose 75 feet and the “kick back” of the hose as water was released.
Riverside County Fire and other organizing agencies are to be praised for their work in putting together such an important and well-structured event. The many donations of icy drinks, water, snack foods, door prizes, and the gift bag of emergency supplies for each attendee were greatly appreciated.
The Anza CERT Team (ACT) is looking for donations of emergency equipment and enclosed mobile trailers for use in the event of a fire, earthquake or other emergency in our local communities. Donations will be accessible by any emergency preparedness group whenever needed and available. For information, please contact Sandi Hughes at (951) 763-0471 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.