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How to be An Active Community Member: Get Emergecy Response Training

Posted by John Hathorn on January 13, 2011
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There are many valuable lessons to be learned for people here in Los Angeles from the terrible shooting tragedy in Arizona including the importance of first aid training and community preparedness in times of need.

While six lives were lost in Tuscon last week, it is possible that a 20-year-old congressional intern may have saved a life with some very basic training in first aid and triage. This young man assessed the wounded and knew that the congresswoman, though critically injured, might be saved. He took her pulse and applied pressure to her wound; he kept talking to her to keep her conscious, held her hand and then rode with her in the ambulance.  With some basic training he was able to help the congresswoman who is in the hospital and poised to recover.

First-aid training is an invaluable tool and one which is very easy to acquire. There is a fantastic program available to all Santa Monica and Malibu residents called CERT.

CERT is an acronym for Community Emergency Response Training. Here are some important things to know about the program:

  • The program was set up in 1993 by FEMA and is available in 28 states as well as in Puerto Rico.
  • The certification training is free.
  • It takes 6 session for completion and is available in Malibu and Santa Monica.

My wife Nancy took this course over the summer and I was extremely impressed by what she learned. She has been pestering me to take the same class and I have committed to doing so. Do you know who “first responders” generally are? The answer is us! During a disaster remember this – that the general public are the first responders. We are the ones who can make a tremendous difference while waiting for the professionals to arrive.

What do you think of CERT and programs like it?  Would you consider getting certified in emergency response and first aid training?  Please leave your comments below and get the conversation started.

Photo courtesy of Joelogon’s Flickr

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