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Marshfield CERT Training (copy)

JUNE 1, 2018 — Students Jeremy Roe, left, and Johnathon Mullins carry earthquake survivor Nancy Wright down a hallway at Marshfield High School during a Coos County Community Emergency Response Team training in Coos Bay.

By now everyone's heard stories about the last storm.

"It was just horrible, the worst experience of my life," said George Sherida, a professor of French History at the University of Oregon. He and his wife Jill live in the foothills of South Eugene where they literally spent four days in their bed under blankets trying to stay warm. The roads were impassible and hunkering down was their only option. How would you have done in this situation? 

What if you are trapped at work and your kids stuck at school? Do you have water and a blanket in your car or locker?

If you are asked to leave your home right now, what would you take, where would you go? Do you have gas? That's one reason you hear that "half a tank is now considered the new empty." With no power your card is useless. No cash, no sale. In "Gone With The Wind" when supply routes were cut off, Rhett Butler got rich providing necessities to those who could pay. Believe me, there will be a Rhett standing by when the time is right.

According to Kim Singh, the Bay Area Community Emergency Response Team leader and instructor, some of our gas stations recently only had diesel. The usual deliveries didn't get through. We were cut off, at least until plan B was put in place. 

Singh suggests an "everyday carry," like a purse or a fanny pack, and in that you should have a small water, a snack bar, maybe an emergency survival blanket or rain poncho, and a flashlight, in case you have to walk home. She said, "The biggest threat to us around here is getting cold and wet. Hypothermia can happen fast." 

Do yourself a favor and visit www.ready.gov. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recognized CERT is a grassroots movement that will help when the first responders won't be able to. First responders go where they can help the most people at once. Statistics are alarming for how many folks are not prepared. If I could sing to you like the billy goat in "Hoodwinked," it would be "Bee-preee-par-rr-rd." Folks earthquakes happen everyday, you can track them at https://earthquaketrack.com.

What if you had to really hunker down in town and use your car for shelter? Will McKay's be open, accept cards? What will you spend $4.20 in lose change on? What if your cell goes down? Do you have phone numbers? I killed my smartphone recently, it was unnerving.

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CERT is a nationally recognized grass roots program developed to help citizens became part of the solution, not the problem. The official description, "The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations giving members the skills to assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help."

Singh has been an EMT, a Red Cross First-Aid and CPR instructor, and is in the Medical Reserve Corp, is a Master Food Preserver. She has made an effort to learn some of the basic survival skills her ancestors did not pass down; like basic foraging, the search of wild edibles. She also has taken other classes through the Traditional Skills Learning Center led by Don Deleria.

If you are interested in CERT, this fall there will be workshops for all eight units of education: Disaster Preparedness, Fire Safety & Utility Controls, Disaster Medical Operations: Part 1 and Part 2, Light Search & Rescue Operations, CERT Organization, Disaster Psychology, Terrorism & CERT, and the course review, final exam along with disaster simulation. The classes will run 6-9 p.m. for eight Tuesdays starting Sept. 24 and continuing through Nov. 12, at BAH Community Education Center. The hands on disaster final will be Saturday, Nov. 16. Bay Area CERT regular meetings are 6-8 p.m. on the first Monday of every month at the center. www.bayareacert.com

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