The Do 1 Thing site won the Awareness to Action category of FEMA’s 2014 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards. It’s a 12-month program of small steps that you can take to increase your personal and household preparedness. Throughout 2015, DEM will feature Do 1 Thing items during our weekly blog post series of One Thing Wednesdays. Check back here every week for a new preparedness activity or tip!
Managing emergencies response requires more than just police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel. Citizens who are committed to their community’s well-being are critical in every stage of a disaster, from preparations before the event to the weeks or months of recovery. For August, we’re looking at ways you can get involved to make your own community more resilient – and to acquire connections and skills that will make your own household more prepared.Even without an event that draws national news attention, it’s possible for even Lexington’s capable professional responders to be overwhelmed. The screen capture to the right shows our fire department’s status board immediately after one of last month’s severe thunderstorms. That’s 12 of 23 engine companies, 2 of 7 ladder companies, and all 11 ambulances (“ECs,” for “emergency care”) simultaneously responding to incidents. In an incident with more widespread damage and injuries, such as a tornado touchdown or an earthquake, this would be only the tip of the proverbial iceberg (not to mix disaster metaphors).
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program originated in California in the 1980s as a community preparedness initiative for earthquakes. The original intent, which carried forward when the program went national in 1994, was to enable citizens to survive and to safely assist others in a major disaster until outside assistance could arrive. Today’s CERT training regimen includes disaster preparedness, triage and first aid, fire suppression, light search and rescue, disaster psychology, and team organization and command.
Lexington’s CERT program began in 2003 and continues today, with 227 active members as of May’s class. To learn more about CERT, see our page on our program.