A CERT team is a team put together in a community that assists law enforcement and emergency crews during a disaster.
CERT teams are often called to help in the event of fires, floods, and search and rescue situations and every individual team member should have a kit with essential items that could aid them when helping during a disaster. Here are the items every CERT kit should have:
3. First aid supplies
4. Solar blanket
5. Metal whistle
7. Dust mask
8. Safety vest
9. Crow bar
10. Flashlight with extra batteries
11. Work gloves
These items may seem like they wouldn’t play an important role in helping during an emergency, but each one is crucial to have when assisting in any disaster.
A backpack is an essential item; it is what keeps the CERT member organized and allows them to carry all their other supplies. Water is also a valuable item to have when assisting in an emergency; it can help save the life of someone who is extremely dehydrated. For example, in March of 2010 in Missouri an elderly woman went missing. A CERT team helped Missouri police locate the woman. She was found alive, but dehydrated. The team had water with them, which played a key role in saving the woman’s life. Water can also be used to clean wounds found on a victim so that they do not in turn become infected, which is also why a first aid kit would be a necessity. First aid kits are a no brainer when it comes to any kind of survival kit. They were a vital part of why the Missouri CERT team was so successful. The elderly woman they rescued had minor injuries and the team was able to perform the necessary first aid procedures while waiting for the professionals to arrive.
A solar blanket can save the life of someone who may have hypothermia. It can also be used to help someone who has been rescued from a flood. A metal whistle can save lives as well. It can alert trapped victims that you are coming to help them and call other members of your team to the area to assist you with the rescue. Rope has so many uses it is an item that everyone should have. If the injured are trapped rope could help you pull them out and bring them to safety. It could also double as a tourniquet in a serious situation. A dust mask is also a must have item. Its obvious use is to prevent you from inhaling harmful substances such as ash and dirt. Safety vests are an item every CERT member should always have; it allows you to be easily seen and identified. For example in March of 2011 in Maryland one CERT team was on a mission to find the remains of an elderly man who disappeared in a forest in 2008. The law enforcement team that they were working with said that the safety vests played a huge role in how well the operation went. They allowed police to see the members and make sure that no one got lost.
The crow bar is the most versatile object in the CERT kit. Crow bars have many uses that could aid in getting an aggrieved person out of a dangerous place. It can be used to pry doors open, to lift heavy rocks and debris, and also can pry open windows or pull out nails and screws. A flashlight with extra batteries is another must have. This can help you find someone in the dark. The final item a CERT member should have in their kit is work gloves. As a CERT member you will be called upon to perform a variety of tasks and work gloves are always a great thing to have to keep your hands protected.
These items are all part of a little team that could mean the difference between life and death for whoever it may be that needs the CERT team’s help. Each item is an essential item that makes the team member’s job a little easier to assist in a disaster.