Saturday, October 20, 2007

Community Emergency Response Team training - light search and rescue

Our fifth training session involved light search and rescue, building on the previous sessions, which I've described here. My goal has been to share with those who have not taken the training what I’ve learned in the hopes that you will:

1. Find or instigate CERT training in your community;
2. Alert you to a few rudimentary skills that will come in handy if there’s a disaster in your community.

Light search and rescue involves coming up with a safe action plan, locating victims and documenting their location, and learning the procedures and methods required to extricate the victims.

I found the following diagram extremely helpful (click to enlarge).
Upon entering a building, CERT volunteers draw a diagonal mark next to the door. After performing rescue operations and upon exiting the building, another diagonal to make an “X,” then fill in the quadrants as shown. One of the trainees mentioned that using this method of recording which buildings had been searched was helpful in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

If rescue involves extricating a victim from debris that needs to be moved, we learned about leveraging and cribbing. The leveraging is accomplished by wedging a lever under the object that needs to be moved. Any long strong pole will do.

Here’s box cribbing, which is used to hold the debris up while the lever is repositioned (click to enlarge).
And here’s what our leveraging and cribbing practice under the supervision of Bill Albers of the Healdsburg Fire Department.

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