With scenes of empty store shelves, fights over toilet paper and most Americans being told to stay home due to the COVID-19 outbreaks, many of us will have a lot of time on our hands in the coming days and weeks.
And, since internet access is not a problem for most (as it often is whenever there is a weather-related disaster or emergency), there are things people can do to learn more about getting themselves and their loved ones prepared for the unexpected (including a zombie apocalypse!)
The U.S. has approximately 800,000 active Law Enforcement Officials (including Police & Sheriff), 1.1 million Firefighters (over 70% are volunteers), and 210,000 EMT / paramedics meaning there are about 2.1 million first responders supporting over 327 million Americans.
And with some quarantines impacting health and public safety personnel in communities around the country (and world), you, your family and neighbors could be the “first” first responders if an emergency or disaster strikes.
Knowledge is power and can help reduce fear and anxiety. Consider taking the below online CERT course and visit some of the kid-friendly sites near the bottom to educate your family and have some fun while doing it.
Community Emergency Response Team
In the U.S. and Canada, the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program helps train volunteers to assist first responders in emergency situations in their communities.
CERT members give critical support to first responders during emergencies, provide immediate assistance to victims, organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site, and collect disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.
Normally the CERT course is taught in the community by a trained team of first responders who have completed a CERT Train-the-Trainer course, and includes disaster preparedness, disaster fire suppression, basic disaster medical operations, and light search and rescue operations and is usually delivered in 2-1/2 hour sessions, one evening a week over a 7 week period.
FEMA also provides an online study course called “Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams“, IS 317, for those wanting to complete training or as a refresher for current team members.
The online course takes between 6 and 8 hours to complete and includes 6 modules…
- CERT Basics,
- Fire Safety,
- Hazardous Material and Terrorist Incidents,
- Disaster Medical Operations,
- Search and Rescue,
- and Course Summary.
While IS-317 is useful as a primer or refresher for CERT training, it is not equivalent to, and cannot be used in place of, the classroom delivery of the CERT Basic Training.
But it is educational and easy to do from your home or office and is a great teaching tool for your entire family. Learn more at FEMA.gov
Also, if you have high school and/or college kids in your family, Teen CERT can give them the above mentioned skills to protect themselves, their family, and friends in case of disaster or emergency. Learn more at www.ready.gov/teen-cert and share above FEMA course link with them too.
Educational and fun preparedness resources for families & kids:
Free ebook (59-pg portion of our preparedness & first aid manual with tips + resources about floods, hurricanes, infectious diseases (e.g. flu, COVID-19, staph, etc.), wildfires, family plans, kits + more) www.fedhealth.net/look-inside-book.html
Ready Kids www.ready.gov/kids
Ready.gov (resources for families, kids, businesses + pets) www.ready.gov
CDC’s Ready Wrigley www.cdc.gov/cpr/readywrigley
CDC (tips for families, college students & kids) www.cdc.gov/family/healthypeople/
CDC’s Zombie preparedness www.cdc.gov/cpr/zombie/
Sesame Street (Let’s Get Ready) www.sesamestreet.org/toolkits/ready