Author Topic: Ideas for local CERT training  (Read 142 times)

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Offline EBuff75

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Ideas for local CERT training
« on: September 10, 2021, 11:23:18 PM »
I'm a member of our local CERT and we've been trying to come up with some training ideas which don't a) require a lot of money to do and b) don't require us to hire someone to come in and conduct the training (see 'a').  We've all gone through the standard training from FEMA and some of the group has been able to take other locally offered classes (Skywarn Spotter training, Dealing with Pets/Animals in an Emergency, Stop the Bleed, NARCAN, First Aid, CPR/AED, etc.). 

The group does have radios (they're retired police radios, which were reprogrammed to have their own frequency and still work with the PD's repeater) and has done radio training in the past.  We've also done simulated grid search / SAR training, watched refresher videos on medical, building search, and other topics.  Ages of the group range from about 40 on up and we're in a major suburban area, so there's not really any time that we'd be out in a true wilderness area (so things like land navigation, hiking/tracking, etc. wouldn't be of much use).  Gear is minimal and is purchased by the individuals, so quality and type vary widely.  There are about 15-20 active members, but really only about 10 who can be counted on to show up for meetings and training on a regular basis.

Other than a single callout a few years back to participate in a missing person grid search, we've only operated locally to provide traffic control (parades, fireworks, other local events, and a few high-profile funerals - Aretha Franklin and Police Officer Michael Krol), security (Oktoberfest, local high school games where there might be issues with teens, festivals, fireworks, etc.), first aid booth / lost child recovery point (festival, Oktoberfest).  The local Fire / Police have admitted (in hindsight) that there were times that they should have called us for assistance (large gas explosion that leveled a house on a Sunday afternoon when they were both at their lowest staffing point of the week; large storms that have blown through and downed trees and wires; missing Alzheimer's patients or children), but so far they haven't thought to do it in the moment. 

We're looking for suggestions for training which would be easy to set up and won't incur any significant expenses.  We do have some funds to draw from, but we're funded solely by donations, so the wallet is a bit thin. 

We've done basic radio training and have done other training like splitting into teams who had to use the same channel, but convey separate sets of somewhat confusing information between members of the team (one part of the team had a model of something they were looking and and the other part of the team had to build a match, using the relayed info).  A lot of people are somewhat intimidated by the radio, even though we have our own "walkie-talkie" channel we can use without bothering the dispatchers.

Other sorts of training have been centered around problem solving (each group gets a bunch of random items and has to figure out a way to use those to perform an action), communications (essentially a game of 'Telephone' to try to pass information accurately), and first aid refreshers. 

Most of our First Aid and CPR/AED certifications have expired during the past year and we're working to line up training to re-certify those, along with getting Stop the Bleed and NARCAN training for the entire group (only some of us have had it).  Our grid search / SAR training exercise a few years back was actually the best attendance we've ever had (almost 30 people), despite it being a miserable, rainy, cold evening when we did it, so we may try to do that again sometime.  It definitely pointed out to some people that they need to get real boots, given that the area we used in a local park was quite swampy and some people actually showed up in loafers...
So what suggestions do you have?  Do you know of any websites which might have scenarios or other training exercises we could use?  Have you done any training which you think might be useful to a group like this?  Thanks in advance!
Information - it’s all a battle for information. You have to know what’s happening if you’re going to do anything about it. - Tom Clancy, Patriot Games

Offline woodsghost

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Re: Ideas for local CERT training
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2021, 08:42:15 AM »
I don't know about the cost, but I didn't see "fire extinguisher training" on there?

Can you do a training where FD or PD send a person out and run an exercise to simulate something they might need help with?

Those are my quick thoughts.

I am understanding that you all have a Ham radio of some sort? Training on deployment and operation sounds useful. Especially if not all the people are fully comfortable with it.

Antenna up, set up power, all plugs and fiddly bits go places, make a call, change channel or maybe get fancy and do a frequency change and offset change? Maybe a band change?

Offline EBuff75

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Re: Ideas for local CERT training
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2021, 09:38:22 AM »
I am understanding that you all have a Ham radio of some sort? Training on deployment and operation sounds useful. Especially if not all the people are fully comfortable with it.

Antenna up, set up power, all plugs and fiddly bits go places, make a call, change channel or maybe get fancy and do a frequency change and offset change? Maybe a band change?

We don't use ham radios, what we have are actual police radios which the local department retired.  Specifically, they're Motorola HT1250 radios. The local PD set aside a channel for us and then reprogrammed the radios to use it.  There is a secondary "walkie-talkie" channel which we can use (basically like an FRS/GMRS radio with a single channel), but it doesn't hit the repeater and is only good for about 1000 ft.  They're also programmed to pick up the local NOAA weather radio band.  We've also got the big charging banks for them (each of which hold about 10 radios).  We only really have two people in the group who know anything about radios, and that's because they're in the Civil Air Patrol.

Actually, if you happen to know of any reasonably priced sources for replacement batteries for the HT1250, we'd love to find one!  A lot of ours are in pretty sad shape and we haven't had good luck at finding cheap batteries for them (again, limited funds to purchase replacements).  Mainly we've used eBay and Amazon to get replacements and the results have been hit-and-miss.
Information - it’s all a battle for information. You have to know what’s happening if you’re going to do anything about it. - Tom Clancy, Patriot Games

Offline yonderstone

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Re: Ideas for local CERT training
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2021, 02:06:23 AM »
I realize that Army indoctrination can impart quite a bit of bias where training is concerned, so forgive me if this is not relevant to your group. That said, I feel like working on mass casualties, hands-on practice using a tourniquet with a windlass, blood sweeps (checking for where bleeding is coming from), would help not only with active shooter training and response, but would apply to a variety of situations. I'm guessing you've all worked on triage a bit, and it could really help to practice while under some amount of duress (physically and mentally). Also working on different drags and carries (be careful!) using an actual human are a great way to get your body and mind acclimated to an emergency in an unsafe/unstable environment, and can also be really revealing about what kinds of physical preparedness one might need to work on in order to effectively safe lives during a crisis.My CERT certifications all expired years ago, and mostly focused on natural disasters in my area, but I feel like a wide breadth of training is useful in emergency scenarios.Just my 2 cents. Hopefully that was helpful in some way.


o7

Offline EBuff75

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Re: Ideas for local CERT training
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2021, 11:49:19 AM »
We have our monthly CERT meeting tonight and here's the list of ideas that I'm planning to give to the commander:

  • De-escalation techniques
  • CPR / AED
  • First Aid
  • Stop the Bleed
  • NARCAN / Naloxone
  • Radio refresher training
  • Community overview / maps / points of concern
  • S&R exercise
  • Grid search / evidence search exercise
  • Reverse food / water handout (this is an old idea of mine to basically run a drive-through food drive that is sort of the reverse of doing a food/water handout during an emergency)
  • Traffic control (including techniques for 1 or 2 person locations)
  • Chainsaw / sawyer training
  • Building search refresher / exercise
  • Urban S&R training
  • Fire extinguisher training
Any other training suggestions that I should add to the list before tonight?
Information - it’s all a battle for information. You have to know what’s happening if you’re going to do anything about it. - Tom Clancy, Patriot Games

Offline RoneKiln

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Re: Ideas for local CERT training
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2021, 01:37:01 AM »
The reverse food / water handout idea works great going door to door on Halloween and is a lot of fun. My youth group did that long ago to collect food for the food bank.

Could also helps raise awareness of the CERT team among the community.
"Seriously the most dangerous thing you are likely to do is to put salt on a Big Mac right before you eat it and to climb into your car."
--Raptor

Offline EBuff75

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Re: Ideas for local CERT training
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2021, 08:55:23 AM »
The reverse food / water handout idea works great going door to door on Halloween and is a lot of fun. My youth group did that long ago to collect food for the food bank.

Could also helps raise awareness of the CERT team among the community.

Unfortunately, in a normal year fewer than 10% of houses in my area participate in Halloween (I'm usually one of two houses on my entire street handing anything out).  Pair that with the pandemic and it might be one in 20 or one in 50 this year.  We also don't have any members with Halloween-aged kids, which would mean going out on our own as adults.  Around here, people probably wouldn't even open their doors for us unless they have a gun in one hand and a phone already dialed to 911 in the other!

One of the activities which CERT usually volunteers at is "Angel's Night." This is where local businesses set up tables along a street which is shut down, so that the kids have a single concentrated area to go to for treats. There are also costume contests and some games beforehand.  That event is usually quite popular (frequently there are 2000-3000 kids there), but it's been cancelled the last two years due to the pandemic.  If that event comes back, it might be a good opportunity to set up a donation table for us to collect things. 

I put together a separate list of event ideas and group discussions which I also gave to our group's leadership.  I'll send them a follow-up with a suggestion for a donation drop point as well.  Thanks!
Information - it’s all a battle for information. You have to know what’s happening if you’re going to do anything about it. - Tom Clancy, Patriot Games

 

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