I’ve blogged here before about how much fun I’ve had participating in the CERT program, the Community Emergency Response Team training. I think it is important to get people trained to help themselves when the need arises. In cases of trauma, every minute counts. Medical experts talk about the Golden Hour, when the odds of saving a victim of traumatic injury are greatest. One doesn’t have to be a doctor, but anything that can patch a person up until medical professionals can get there will go a long way towards saving them.
As you know, the first CERT program folded. I had heard rumblings of a new program being bootstrapped in the Oakwood neighborhood. A year passed and I wondered if the effort would succeed. Then in August I got an invite to the training class for the Oakwood CERT team – it was actually happening! About twenty of my neighbors took the training with me and we had great support from Samantha Royster from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS). Everyone left that weekend with some hands-on emergency training as well as a full CERT kit paid for through a generous federal grant.
What’s more, my classmates immediately elected me … president. While I wasn’t in the room, of course. Heh.
Fast forward to mid-December. My company’s foundation looks for non-profits that attract the passion of its employees and those employees are invited to submit grant requests. On the last day of the grant program, I put in a request to fund the Oakwood CERT team and was pleased to learn it was fully granted! It’s a modest grant but it’s one I hope to build on.
In the meantime, I also tracked down the treasurer of the original Raleigh-Wake CERT organization and spent a few hours on the phone with him, getting the history of the original group including its rocky relations with the Raleigh Fire Department. Suddenly, many of the things I had previously been told about RWCERT started to make sense.
Oakwood CERT has it’s first bit of funding and it has twenty graduates to date. It has a president but no other officers. Now that the holidays are behind us I need to schedule a meeting to better organize this organization. This will probably happen in February.
Next up for me is attending the CERT “Train the Trainer” class being taught in Durham this weekend. This will make me qualified to teach the course. Hopefully I can get more of the Oakwood CERT graduates to join me so we will have multiple trainers.
There’s some initial work to be done but it’s exciting to finally be standing up another CERT team in Raleigh!