Kirkland’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) recently opened registration for its 26th biannual class in which participants will learn about disaster preparedness and be trained in basic disaster response skills.
The Kirkland CERT program was founded in 2005 and has trained more than 400 community members since its inception. The curriculum is based on the Federal Emergency Management Agency and teaches attendees skills in fire suppression, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations.
“Kirkland is lucky to have such amazing CERTs standing by throughout its various neighborhoods,” wrote former Reporter writer, Megan Campbell, who enrolled in last year’s CERT class as a journalist. “Sign up for the CERT class. It’s a benefit to your personal preparedness and you’ll wish you had some kind of training when a disaster strikes.”
CERT 26 will be an eight-week course running from 6-9 p.m. Mondays from Sept. 10 to Nov. 3 at Kirkland City Hall, 123 5th Ave. During the final session, students will participate in the final simulation drill.
Last year, about 30 CERT members worked together to rescue 28 “survivors” of a major earthquake during the simulation. A team of moulage artists created fake wounds on some of the survivors, allowing participants to practice injury triage and treatment.
Kirkland firefighters and trained citizen CERT instructors will teach the course and participants will learn first-hand how to support their neighbors in a crisis when first responders will be overwhelmed.
Participants will also learn about personal preparedness for disasters, including quick decision-making skills and recognizing potential acts of terrorism.
Among these skills are things anyone can practice without a CERT class, including checking the expiration dates of fire extinguishers and shaking them every six months or so, to avoid the chemicals clumping up.
Emergency officials recommend citizens check fire and carbon monoxide alarms regularly and know where electrical, water and gas shut offs are. Puget Sound Energy customers cannot turn their gas back on themselves, so it’s important ensure that they smell gas and it’s completely necessary to turn it off.
CERT 26 will also go over emergency fire plans and “go bags,” which are backpacks or bags already prepared with emergency supplies and digital copies of important documents, in case of evacuation.
Officials encourage residents to prepare enough food and water to last two weeks, plan a designated spot to meet outside of a home in case of an emergency and always have at least two ways out of a house.
The CERT classes will cost $35 for residents and $50 for non-residents and graduates can participate in a ceremony during a City Council meeting. The fee will included a hardhat, vest, backpack and basic emergency supplies.
To check the schedule and register at www.kirklandcert.com/event-3001554.