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CERT is about readiness, people helping people, rescuer safety, and doing the greatest good for the greatest number of people. In March 2001, the Olathe Fire Department initiated CERT in Olathe. CERT is part of Citizen Corps, which is endorsed by the president and the Department of Homeland Security.
A CERT group is an organized team of people trained for disaster planning, preparedness and survival. Following a major disaster, like a tornado strike, professional first responders who provide fire and medical services may not be able to meet the initial demand for these services.
The potential for large numbers of victims, disabled telecommunication equipment, and road blockages may delay emergency services workers from reaching disaster victims. In a disaster, people will have to rely on each other for help to meet their immediate live-saving and life-sustaining needs. A CERT network can train people to meet Olathe's needs in the event of a disaster.
Units of Instruction:
Disasters back to top
This unit addresses a variety of disaster situations that might threaten our community. We also look at the impact on Olathe's infrastructure, structural, and nonstructural hazards. In addition, each participant learns what they can do to mitigate the effects of disasters and learn more about personal safety and secondary hazards which present themselves when emergencies or disasters occur.
Basic Fire Suppression back to top
This unit addresses the basic use of fire extinguishers, personal safety, fire prevention for the home and workplace and an overview of the OFD and its resources. In addition, this unit provides an orientation to hazardous materials. This basic knowledge enables the CERT team member to recognize and identify a hazardous material threat and how to properly notify authorities.
Terrorism back to top
This unit is a basic overview on terrorism.
Disaster Medical back to top
Part I of Disaster Medical Operations includes an introduction to disaster medical situations. It includes recognizing and treating life-threatening conditions, triage, and practical applications for disaster medical knowledge and skills.
Part II of Disaster Medical Operations concentrates on the organization of disaster medical operations. Participants learn how to conduct head-to-toe patient assessments establish treatment areas; treat burns; care for wounds; treat fractures; sprains and strains; splint broken bones; treat hypothermia and frostbite. CERT members also learn public health considerations and apply their newly learned disaster medical knowledge and skills in a practical scenario.
Light Search and Rescue back to top
This unit includes aspects of search and rescue planning, size-up and operations.
Team Organization back to top
The final elements of the CERT program include the spontaneous organization of CERT and disaster decision-making. Participants learn about disaster psychology and how these traumatic events can affect victims and rescuers including CERT members. In conclusion, this unit addresses CERT and its relationship to the incident management system.
The finale includes a written exam - it's a take home quiz - and a simulated, hands-on "disaster" exercise that puts newly learned CERT skills to the test. Upon successful completion of all CERT program units, participants receive certificates.