Letters for the week of April 11

Apr 11, 2012

Prepare yourself for a disaster

Dear Editor,

Mukilteo’s Emergency Preparedness Open House is scheduled for May 19 at Fire Station 25. At the open house, the community is invited to sign up for CERT training and join a Community Emergency Response Team.

It is hoped that Mukilteo will have a CERT class this fall. Last month, a class in Woodinville had 32 trained graduates.

The CERT class is one day a week for eight weeks. It is vital that everyone take this class, because during a large disaster the only help you will receive is from you, your family or your neighbors.

Our local firefighters and police will not be able to support everyone and, in all likely hood, not be able to get to you. Help from outside our city or area will be long time coming. Power, phones, cell phones gas and water could all be out of order.

What is taught in this class is just how to take care of yourself, your family and your neighbors in a disaster.

You learn some first aid – techniques on how treat a bleeding person, stabilize an injury, treat for shock, and possibly transport the victim. You also learn how to identify which buildings are safe to enter and which ones are not safe and how to turn off the main gas valve to a home and when it is not safe to even go near it.

After you take the class and realize that you can contribute to your family with your new skills, and what should be in your survival kit. Just how much food, water, and whatever else it takes to keep you fed, warm, and dry for a week or more. And that includes your pets – they also need to be fed, watered, and taken care of.

Imagine your home and neighborhood is no longer able to provide shelter from snow, rain, wind or provide electricity, cooking appliances, etc. Your survival kit needs items in order to cook, pots and pans, a tent or tarp and whatever else you might need.

After CERT training, you may also want to get more involved – and make sure you remember everything you’ve learned. CERT Leaders is a volunteer organization that continues CERT education through practice drills and more.

You may also join RACES, which is Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service. I joined RACES, which is also a free class in which I earned my HAM radio license.

Now, along with other CERT and RACES members, we can communicate with each other and to our local Emergency Operating Center. The Mukilteo EOC it is located at the police station. The EOC is a coordinating agency to move people and equipment where it is needed during a disaster or help supply other cities with what they need.

Anyone can join a CERT. We have had people in wheel chairs go through the class. Sometimes a CERT might be asked to go to other locations, such as New Orleans, during the Katrina disaster or into the Midwest after tornadoes.

The people who did go to these disaster sites came back and taught us more things about what it is like and more things to prepare for.

So think about joining, as this training could save a family member or a neighbor’s life.

I like to think just how great it would be to have a city full of people prepared and trained for a disaster and able to respond and help our limited fire department through an emergency situation.

Those of us in CERT are all volunteers, and it feels great to give back to the community and to feel more confident in being able to help take care of my family and neighbors.

Dennis Hutton,

ESCA/CERT/RACES,

Mukilteo

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