|CERT Summer Games 2007|
by Stormy on September 14, 2007
Successful emergency response is all about training. Real life does not present textbook cases and being ready for a real emergency simply means practice, practice, practice. Of course practice needs to be fun!
The two day long second annual CERT Summer Games were hosted by the Parker Fire Department in Douglas County. The games are styled like the Olympics and teams compete in a series of events. Each event was scored and medals were awarded based on team performance.
I was lucky enough to be an observer for this running of the Summer Games and watching eight teams from all over the north central region competing was a lot of fun. All events had two things in common - following set safety protocols and teamwork. The actual themes of the events changed and each team would rotate through the stations, doing their best.
The Incident Command competition had teams communicate among members using a chain of command. The Incident Commander never saw what the field operation was like and the objective was to make sure that no information was lost as it was being passed along.
Fire Control had blindfolded responders take direction from their team for how to approach and put out a fire.
Search and Rescue involved teams going into a dark burned out facility with obstacles, searching for marked items. This was a timed scavenger hunt that enforced team safety. The only way teams would score is if they came back out of the building before their time ran out.
Triage had the teams evaluate 14 bus crash victims and classify the severity of their injuries and determine the order of treatment. This, too, was a timed event.
The last event was simple team building, but it required a lot of coordination and team work. Three or four people would get on two planks and their task was to walk out to a barrier and return. This sounds easier than it is because the entire team needed to coordinate lifting the same foot at the same time and advancing the plank forward.
At the end of the event the responders all participated in one final exercise, a plane crash. They were to respond to a crash of a commuter jet into an apartment building, assess the area, secure the scene and rescue the survivors. Easy, right?
Watching exercises like this makes me appreciate the people who volunteer their time to train to help in disasters and who are willing to risk their lives to help others in time of need. We live in a world undergoing many changes and being vigilant and ready goes a long way towards making it safer for all of us, even marmots.