The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.
“Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Informed.” With that admonition firmly in mind, seventeen volunteers and staff members from the Mid-South Chapter of the American Red Cross recently spent two days training to become members of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). The Memphis Office of Emergency Management (OEM) offered the training designed to teach participants basic disaster response skills.
Over two full days the Red Cross workers practiced small-fire fighting, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster-triage and medical skills. The training, which involved both classroom discussion and disaster-simulation exercises, is designed to develop the knowledge and abilities necessary for team members to assist in their neighborhoods or workplaces in the immediate aftermath of a disaster before professional-first responders arrive on the scene.
The Memphis CERT Manager/Coordinators Kenneth Brown and Charles Stewart have been extremely busy since CERT instruction began for local residents in March of 2013. The class for the Mid-South volunteers and staff was the 51st that has been offered by the Memphis OEM. Brown and Stewart are intent on providing the very best instruction to those who take the training to teach them to help as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, and as safely as possible should a major disaster strike the Mid-South area.
Spending two days contemplating the aftermath of a major disaster, such as an earthquake, major tornado outbreak, or a terrorist event was a sobering experience. However, it was also a valuable learning and empowering experience, providing course participants with the decision-making, organizational, and practical skills necessary to deal with the immediate aftermath of such an event.
Living in a world where a major disaster can strike at any time, the best way to have peace of mind, despite this reality, is to know that one possesses the skills and resources necessary to assist and save as many people as possible, quickly and safely, should such an event strike our community.
CERT training is offered to all. More information can be obtained by contacting the Office of Emergency Management at 901-515-2525. Remember: “Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Informed.”
Photos and story by Robert W. Wallace/American Red Cross