I spent this weekend at a fantastic training course that was offered by the Office of Emergency Management. It’s a free course and all it costs you is 20 hours of your time. The Intro was on Friday night from 6pm to 9pm and then classes all day Saturday and Sunday. You do have to register as the places are limited – no turning up unannounced on the night.
I’m not a particularly robust person but I was encouraged by the fact that they clearly state that no one is asked to do more than they are comfortable with. If you don’t like blood and guts, you can opt for an admin role or logistics. They need people in many roles.
This was the 9th such class in Nashua and the biggest so far. Almost 50 people registered for this one. That’s a lot of people to have moving around at one time. One thing that I loved about the course was how much information they packed in to such a short time and how relaxed and non stressful the whole thing was. No sugar coating about events. Truthful and honest depictions of scenarios and the types of injuries you would expect to see. Not one boring moment.
I highly recommend you to sign up for one of these courses in your area. There is no obligation to attend emergency call out situations once the course is completed. You can, of course sign up to your local CERT team and become an active member. You are expected to attend a measly 4 incidents a year, and those include local events and educational programmes. If you simply do nothing else than learn how to prepare and protect yourself and your family in an emergency, this course is fantastic.
Upon graduation you get a certificate from CERT and another arrives later from the Fire Fighting Academy [for Nashua] and you are then offered the ability to take more training courses with both teams. You are given a ‘go bag’ which contains your basic equipment. Hard hat, wrench, gloves, dust mask, and other odds and ends. You are encouraged to customise your kit according to your needs. You also get to take home your course materials and handouts to refer back to if needed.
All in all, go do this. You will feel better about situations such as bad storms, outages and emergencies because you will know how the system works. You will be able to be prepared and take care of your family, your neighbours and your community. If the emergency services are overwhelmed and cannot respond to your needs immediately, how much better is it if you can cope with the life threatening 3 Killers [medical first aid] and how to disconnect your utilities. What if you need to know to remove debris from a trapped person, and most of all, how to keep calm because you KNOW how to do those things.