Classes CERT-ify volunteers to help in emergency
A class beginning in December is hoping to help Eudorans help themselves.
The idea behind the Community Emergency Response Team is to teach people to cope with a disaster for the first 72 hours, said William Brubaker, citizen corp coordinator with Douglas County Emergency Management. And that can be particularly important in communities like Eudora.
"Lawrence has a lot of resources," Brubaker said. "The rural areas don't."
The classes have been offered in Lawrence before, but a session began Tuesday in Baldwin City. Eudora sessions begin mid-December.
"The first goal is to be able to help themselves," Brubaker said.
That includes learning skills like minimal first aid, putting out small fires, and how to turn off utilities until professional first-responders are available. Classes cover topics like fire safety, light search and rescue, terrorism, and even psychology -- how to act and what to expect from people in an emergency.
At the end of the sessions, certificates are issued to those who successfully complete the course.
The classes, Brubaker said, would give students hand-on experience, concluding with a field exercise that will have students handing off "patients" to first-responders like local police, EMS and firefighters.
"They'll deal with the people they'll have to deal with (in an emergency)," Brubaker said.
Although the core idea of CERT-trained individuals is for them to help their neighbors and community, Brubaker said they could serve on a larger level, too. He said CERT volunteers were asked to go to Florida during the state's recent rash of hurricanes. A lot of that job, Brubaker said, was informing residents about federal aid available to them.
CERT classes are open to those in the community 18 and older and are intended for those who have little or no background in medical or emergency response. Brubaker said he hoped to see spouses of emergency personnel enroll in the course.
"They're more likely to respond if they know things will be taken care of at home," Brubaker said.
The course is free, and students will receive materials like an all-hazard radio and a first responder kit. Because of the increasing cost of materials, Brubaker said this might be the last time the course was offered at no cost.
Students can attend the classes on either Tuesdays or Thursdays from 7 to 10 p.m. at Eudora City Hall. The sessions begin Dec. 14 or 16 and end Feb. 8 or 10, 2005.
To register, visit www.douglas-county.com/emergency/cert, or call 832-5260.