On Tuesday October 29 fifteen Brewster residents and twenty-three other members of the newly formed Brewster/Orleans/Chatham/Harwich (BOCH) Community Emergency Response Team received their graduation certificates after completing a 20 hour Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) basic CERT training program. These volunteers are now prepared to act as a community “force multiplier,” taking care of non-critical tasks like checking homes after an evacuation, reporting dangerous events, and offering basic medical care during and after natural or man-made disasters ultimately freeing trained professionals to focus on the more critical and dangerous rescue duties that they are equipped and trained to manage.
In addition to this disaster assistance local Emergency management and public safety officials from the communities plan to use the regional team in a variety of ways including providing logistical and management support during non-emergency events such as parades, volunteer recruitment activities, town meetings, and road races, and during emergencies when storm shelter administration, cooling/warming shelter operations, and emergency operations center functions are initiated.
The course was delivered over several weeks by a team of public safety officials from the participating communities and certified instructors from the Dennis-Yarmouth CERT team. Their training included:
- Disaster Preparedness: Addresses a variety of hazards specific to the communities and actions that participants and their families can take before, during, and after a disaster to prepare for and survive an event.
- Fire Suppression: Covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, and fire suppression strategies. The thrust of this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, controlling utilities and extinguishing a small fire.
- Medical Operations: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques. Evaluation of patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area and performing basic first aid.
- Light Search and Rescue Operations: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, and rescuer safety.
- Psychology and Team Organization: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and workers including PTSD.
- Course Review and Disaster Simulation: Participants review and practice the skills that they have learned during the previous six sessions in a hands-on disaster scenario.
Congratulations to the newly certified members of BOCH Cert!