The Saddleback College Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program educates Saddleback College and SOCCCD Staff and Faculty about disaster preparedness for the 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. The CERT program offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization that professional responders can rely on during disaster situations, which allows them to focus on more complex tasks. Through CERT, the capabilities to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters is built and enhanced.
The CERT Basic Course is delivered by a group of Saddleback College staff who are certified CERT trainers and is offered over three, 8 hour days. The training program consists of:
- Disaster Preparedness: Addresses hazards specific to the community. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during and after a disaster as well as an overview of CERT and local laws governing volunteers.
- Fire Suppression: Covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards and fire suppression strategies. However, the thrust of this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, controlling utilities and extinguishing a small fire.
- Medical Operations Part I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.
- Medical Operations Part II: Covers evaluating 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, rescue techniques and rescuer safety.
- Psychology and Team Organization: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and workers, and addresses CERT organization and management.
- Course Review and Disaster Simulation: Participants review and practice the skills that they have learned during the previous six sessions in a disaster activity.
CERT team members who are selected for training are issued safety equipment (gloves, goggles, mask, helmets, vests) and disaster supplies (bandages, flashlight, dressings) which will be used during the session and then their service on the CERT team.