The disaster that struck our neighbors to the north in Oso, Wash., is tragic. Lives have been lost and homes have been destroyed. It should also serve as a reminder that many things in life are beyond our control. That which Mother Nature dishes out is among them.
Do you have a plan? If not, I’d encourage you to get busy forming one.
As I learned during the recent Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training, we should plan to fend for ourselves for up to 72 hours following “the big one.”
The big one? In this area, we think mostly of earthquakes.
If seismologists are to be believed, the Pacific Northwest is long overdue for a massive earthquake. If (or should it be when?) a major natural disaster occurs West Pierce Fire & Rescue will be attending to the largest number of casualties first.
That means my family and home (which is less than 1/2-mile from a fire station) is unlikely to be a top priority.
West Pierce Fire & Rescue hosts a CERT training class a few times per year. [The next one is set for September 16-October 4.] The recently concluded class ran on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 6:30-9:00 pm for three weeks. It was capped off with a four hour drill on Saturday following. In all, about 20 hours of training.
The idea of CERT is to serve as a back-up to Fire and Rescue personnel. While the professionals are busy in the immediate aftermath, CERT provides a basic framework for neighbors to work together to help each other out.
But before we can help out others, we must care for ourselves and loved ones. Assuming our immediate needs are met, we learned the basics of opening an airway to allow someone to breath; how to stop bleeding; how to treat shock; basic search and rescue techniques; and more.
Most importantly, we learned tools and techniques for doing the most good for the most number of people using whatever resources we can put to use.
My fellow classmates consisted of a mechanic, a safety planner, a pair of Red Cross employees, a retired salesperson, a high schooler and an electrician. A motley crew we were. But when ‘the big one’ hit (on the final Saturday) we worked together to search, recover and treat victims. It was gratifying and eye-opening all at the same time.
In case you are wondering, hoping ‘the big one’ doesn’t hit, isn’t a plan. So. What’s your plan?