If a disaster such as a major earthquake, fire, or flood strikes, would you know what to do?
The Brentwood and West Los Angeles community will have a free-of-charge opportunity to obtain a set of emergency response skills during March and April.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training Program is sponsored by the Brentwood Community Council (BCC) and coordinated by BCC alternate councilmember Jerry Adomian.
The Los Angeles Fire Department will provide the series of seven classes that will uphold the Nationally Accepted Federal Standard for CERT training.
The training is ideal for anyone unfamiliar with emergency preparation as well as for those in need of some vital reminders.
Since local emergency services can be overwhelmed and even non-functional during certain disasters, CERT training teaches residents how to prepare for and act during a number of different incidents.
“This training program will cover all kinds of emergencies, whether it’s an earthquake or a fire or flooding,” Adomian said. “It’s really specific to the neighborhood. For example, those of us in the Mandeville Canyon area tend to be more prone to being scared of fires, since we live on a six-mile cul-de-sac that would make it difficult to escape in the case of one.”
Adomian initially saw the necessity for a local CERT program about two or three years ago when the Fire Department performed an evacuation drill.
“The evacuation was a success because a lot of things went wrong,” Adomian explained. “It was good because the fire department wanted to learn more about how to help.”
Adomian’s past experience as a witness to the 1994 Northridge earthquake also prioritizes the sense of urgency of a CERT training program.
“It’s recommended that you have a few days’ worth of resources, but I saw the devastation that [the Northridge earthquake] caused, and if that occurred here, it could take a long time to recover,” Adomian said. “Imagine all of the water mains breaking, or a major gasline being disrupted.”
According to Adomian, residents should “always have about two to three weeks’ worth of supplies on hand in case of emergency.”
As an all-hazard, all-risk training program, the upcoming CERT training will address specificities of the home and allow participants to think uniquely about their individual homes.
Adomian said that several factors during emergencies “depended on how your house and garage is structured,” as garages can get jammed and doors can be rammed shut.
“You want to be careful where you store your food to make sure it’s accessible,” Adomian said. “It’s important for people to think about where to store their medications, and even mundane things like toilet paper.”
The program will also remind and teach its participants about useful resources like emergency lights, portable radios, and first aid kits, as well as where to certain supplies.
“Once the necessities are suggested, many people are smart enough to think of additional supplies on their own, but it’s nice to be told about some of them,” Adomian said. “It takes this for people to open their eyes and think about these things.”
The importance of teamwork within a neighborhood also becomes more obvious as “everyone could help each other out in different ways,” according to Adomian.
“It’s good to have small groups of teams,” Adomian said. “The teams would consist of a dozen neighbors who each have varying resources.”
Participants who attend all seven classes will receive a CERT certification. Adomian himself will be getting certified for the third time this March.
The previous CERT courses Adomian organized were met with success, with about 70 people in attendance on the first night.
The CERT program is designed to protect self, family, and neighbors in emergency situations. The two-and-a-half hour classes will be held once a week for seven consecutive weeks on Thursday evenings (March 5, 12, 19, 26 and April 2, 9, 16) from 6:30 pm to 9 pm. Courses will take place in the Town Hall on the campus of Paul Revere Charter Middle School.
For more information, call 310.472.4733 or email [email protected]