It was our West County CERT’s 23rd Academy. It’s the same Academy that was postpone twice, due to the pandemic – the third time is the charm apparently – and things went sideways and almost derailed it at the very last minute. And still thanks in no small part to the dedication and resourcefulness of our City Coordinators, our 23rd Academy was….
What an Academy!
We had almost 50 residents come together for the two Friday nights and Saturdays to work our way through the 20-hour CERT basic training program. Then Saturday afternoon, the graduates and current CERT members completed an awesome field exercise where we got to practice some of the skills we learned.
We had some great guest experts come in to share their experiences from the field too. Thanks to Carrie Scott for an informative disaster psychology session on our first Friday evening; Sgt John Krok for his medical assessment and bandaging instruction and the team from Falck Ambulance for the hands-on assist with each of our 8 teams of attendees. During our second Friday evening we had a sobering presentation regarding terrorism from Josh Goldmark.
Of course our Academy could not have happened without the tireless support from our Team Coordinators: Loree Erpelding, Ed Fleming, Robert Acosta, and Brian Gray. We cannot forget about all the team members who pitched in to help with the course: Kris Thomas, Debbie Charland, Michelle Charland, Jan Ridgeway, Dave Atkins, Anna Bilyk, Robin Fairman, Sandy McClure, Cathy Lopez, Emanual Aparicio, Candace Workman, Lance Smith, Art Remnet, Daniel Mahoney, Willie Ortega, Jean Daum, Richard Daum, Vicki Davio, Don Davio, Howard Neill, Lynn Selden, Tom Woodward, and Suzette Ryzner. If you pitched in and we left you off the list, please accept our apologies.
The Academy presented all sorts of opportunities for fun learning about utility turn off valves, how to put out fires (remember PASS, right?), and of course the medical triage and bandaging. Let’s not forget about patient transport, what to do in a terrorism event, and how to lift a dumpster with some wood and a crowbar.