I live in a com­mu­ni­ty of less than 10,000 peo­ple in rur­al Cache Val­ley on the ID/UT bor­der with vol­un­teer fire and ambu­lance ser­vice.  It’s been 8 months now since I joined my local Com­mu­ni­ty Emer­gency Response Team.  Since then:

  • I have com­plet­ed CERT lev­el I train­ing (Taught by my city’s FD bat­tal­ion com­man­der) and was issued a some basic gear and a pho­to ID Badge.
  • I have attend­ed month­ly train­ing at both city and coun­ty lev­els.
  • I have par­tic­i­pat­ed in joint train­ing exer­cis­es with our fire depart­ment, ambu­lance ser­vice, neigh­bor­ing cities and the coun­ty.
  • I have trained at our coun­ty fire­fight­ing train­ing facil­i­ty nick­named “The Bates Motel” because of it’s real­ism in train­ing.
  • CERT has involved me in the Ama­teur Radio Emer­gency Ser­vice.  I have attend­ed a ama­teur (HAM) radio class and earned my tech­ni­cian’s license.
  • I have been acti­vat­ed 5 times in 8 months — most­ly due to flood­ing.
  • I have helped train a class of new recruits.
Vol­un­teer is not nec­es­sar­i­ly syn­ony­mous with unpro­fes­sion­al.  I live in a sub­ur­ban devel­op­ment in a small, rur­al, pre­dom­i­nant­ly LDS (Mor­mon) com­mu­ni­ty in a seis­mi­cal­ly  active area,  and we don’t have paid emer­gency ser­vices.  Need­less to say … peo­ple here take their CERT pret­ty seri­ous­ly.  My neigh­bor­hood area of 102 homes now has  4 CERT lev­el 1’s, 8 Block Cap­tains and 8 Back­up Block Cap­tains.  The whole com­mu­ni­ty par­tic­i­pates.
CERT teach­es that you pre­pare your­self and your fam­i­ly first, your neigh­bor­hood sec­ond and then, if things are under con­trol in your neigh­bor­hood, you help the com­mu­ni­ty.  The first thing you do is get your own home ready.  Then you get to the point where you’re ready to deploy to help oth­ers.  Train­ing to be a first respon­der and to moti­vate and orga­nize my com­mu­ni­ty has tak­en my prepa­ra­tions to a whole new lev­el.  You tend to learn a sub­ject more thor­ough­ly know­ing you are going to have to teach it to oth­er peo­ple.
It is not a bad thing to be the first to know when a dis­as­ter hap­pens with­out being oblig­ed to respond to it.  It is good to be on a first name basis with the first respon­ders and have their phone num­bers, radio fre­quen­cies and radio call signs.  It is good to have all a copy of the Ama­teur Radio Emer­gency Ser­vice’s emer­gency response plans and fre­quen­cies.  It’s also nice to have the uni­forms, ID and even mag­net­ic car signs to get in and out of dis­as­ter areas.  You could use this cov­er to trans­port your entire fam­i­ly past a road­block by buy­ing extra uni­forms for the adults, hid­ing the kids (or say­ing you have to trans­port them) and flash­ing your ID … if they even ask.  This was a major prob­lem for res­i­dents after Hur­ri­cane Kat­ri­na.
Last but not least, par­tic­i­pat­ing in CERT has been fun and it is ful­fill­ing to vol­un­teer for your com­mu­ni­ty.  It feels good to give, to per­form ser­vice and to know that you are help­ing your fel­low man.  The com­ment was made in an ear­li­er post that a prep­per con­sid­ered him­self a “Man Scout.”  Vol­un­teer ser­vice in CERT is right along those lines.
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About Mr-Jones

Mul­ti-gen­er­a­tional Prep­per, Eagle Scout, NRA Sharp­shoot­er Trained by John C Coo­ley, Nation­al Junior Small­bore Com­peti­tor, CERT, ARES, Ama­teur Radio, Urban Firearms Insti­tute, CCW by Ken­ny Woodard, Tac­ti­cal Pis­tol 1&2 by Dave Vaughn, Tac­ti­cal Shoot­ing Skills by Glen Gar­ri­son, CCW Renew­al taught by a Judge, Tac­ti­cal Car­bine, Defen­sive Shot­gun, ASP Basic Course (ASP Baton & Pep­per Spray) Pre­ci­sion Ord­nance Prod­ucts, Less-Lethal Weapons, Stun Muni­tions, Dynam­ic Entry, High-Explo­sive Breach­ing, Aiki­do, SCARS CQC, Edged Weapons, Intro to IPSC by a Ret Delta Force Lt Col, Learn­ing Long Range Hi-pow­er Rifle, Work­ing on EComm Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, Hunter, Back­pack­er, Some Fish­ing, Boat­ing, 1yr Food Stor­age for 2, Gear Junky, Com­put­er Back­ground