This summer, East Shore’s Caretaker, Joseph Newman, attended the C.E.R.T. 3 day training course for Bellevue, representing ESUC Facility Department Staff. C.E.R.T. stands for Community Emergency Response Team. It’s a group of local resident volunteers willing to give up some of their time to learn from trained professionals to help the community during a crisis by preparing and providing disaster relief to themselves, their families, and if able, their community.
In times of crisis, C.E.R.T. volunteers get together or are deployed by disaster professionals. They are trained for many items including gathering facts of a local area, communicating to first responders when they arrive on the scene, providing medical triage (organizing the injured from most critical to least) and administering first aid, conducting search and rescue operations to lightly damaged buildings, or just providing a calming presence to someone in wake of trauma.
To put it in perspective, with roughly 8 million people in Washington State and roughly 8,000 working emergency professionals; that’s 1,000 citizens to every one professional! So, during a major crisis, such as a big earthquake, any training you may have that can help provide support is very valuable.
Furthermore, not only did they learn how to administer aid to others, but they were taught techniques and practices that help prepare ourselves and our community for a disaster, because if we don’t know what to do, we risk injury or becoming someone that would need to be rescued. Preparing yourself and your family before hand is essential to staying safe.
For Joseph, in taking this course, not only does he get to learn about how to prepare and keep himself and his family safe during a disaster, but it gave him an opportunity to explore East Shore with a new safety orientated lens. He says, “After taking a look around, I was in impressed with what I was able to find as according to the C.E.R.T. training manual.”
Here at East Shore, we already do many things right and keep up to date with things that are basic safety.
- Basic First Aid supplies readily available
- Fire alarm system and maintenance checks regularly and maintain relationships with the fire inspectors
- Natural Gas supply (power goes out we can still cook food)
- DIY Cleaning products we use to clean interiors / exteriors are human and environmentally safe and sound which helps improve indoor living space quality as well as prevent potential chemical fires
- Keep up to date on fire extinguisher through monthly checks to make sure proper functionality and no tampering
- …and more
Bellevue is a great community in the even greater Pacific Northwest. It’s a melting pot of cultures, demographics, and industries. It offers a lot to the Eastside as well as the whole region.
Something that might go unnoticed though, we might not take the time to appreciate the efforts of our own emergency response time and the professionals that make it happen, until we need them. And in this case, when we need them is usually when we REALLY need them. In times of disaster or great need it can be even harder to recognize and to acknowledge the current efforts of these first responders put into educating the public before hand with training. Bellevue Fire for example, with whom organized the C.E.R.T. training, even offersr training to firefighters, across the pond, in jolly old England!
Their efforts now help develop a culture of preparedness and self sufficiency which can alleviate some of the burden first responders face in times of major crisis and also what a community might face as well. A culture of preparedness, that here at East Shore, we can as a community help encourage too.
Celil, our other Caretaker, Dianne, Facilities Manager, and Jason, Executive Director, are scheduled to take the training later this year. We hope to create a formal Ministry Team at East Shore to help with educating the congregation about how each person can be prepared in their homes, and how we as a church can serve the greater community in times of need. Anyone interested in participating on this Team, please contact Dianne at firstname.lastname@example.org.