Cal State Long Beach hosted the local Community Emergency Response Team expo geared toward teaching families and the community to be ready for floods, toxic waste, earthquakes and other emergency situations.
The response team organizers aim to educate people about disaster preparedness and trains local resident volunteers in response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations. CERT currently serves nine districts within Long Beach.
Patty Dougherty, who leads the Long Beach division of the safety organization, introduced this program to local fire departments, mayor Robert Garcia and city council members in order to share the great work the volunteers bring their community.
“It is about doing the greatest good, for the greatest amount of people, within the shortest amount of time,” Dougherty said.
Each team contains a “pod.” They contain the proper equipment and tools necessary for volunteers to serve citizens who have faced a natural disaster when professional responders are not immediately available to assist. The pods and the included materials cost approximately $120,000 to stock.
Long Beach city officials jumped on board with the program almost immediately and in turn sponsors like Red Cross, LB Gas & Oil, SoCal Edison, Verizon and many more began to assist in extending their services and time to further the success of this program.
The local volunteers showcased possible natural disaster scenarios where they provide basic medical attention such as hands-only CPR, how to purify water with bleach and how to remove water from a water heater for survival. In addition the Long Beach Fire Search and Rescue team performed a live “jaws of life” car rescue. Speaker Denice Thoman demonstrated “50 ways to use a trash bag” where multiple audience members learned how to create a medical sling for broken limbs ,make a shelter, construct a rain poncho and make a pillow, all from one single black trash bag.
In addition to the live re-enactments and speakers, CERT introduced “Pulsepoint”, an app designed for the program’s volunteers, will send a text alert informing the volunteer of a local emergency in which they are trained to respond until medical professionals arrive. The volunteers who physically respond and aid a victim during an emergency have been found to double if not triple a person’s chance to live, for every minute a victim goes unaided their chance of living declines by 10% , emergency officials claim.Of multiple vendors who attended the “Ready Long Beach?” event, Verizon and the City of Long Beach extended a service beyond most. Verizon Wireless Crisis Response
Team stands by 24/7 to help community officials and residents stay connected, especially during the event of a natural disaster.
Verizon representative Curtis Mentz and team serve the public and private sector loaning cell phones, wifi hotspots and other communicative gadgets free of charge. Long Beach City Department of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Communications presented an emergency notification text alert system for those who live or work in Long Beach are informed with vital emergency information. Residents can sign up online through the city’s website. Once subscribed, in the event of an emergency you will be sent a voice, text and email alert to inform a person of any immediate emergency that occurs near your GPS location.
One can join to become a Long Beach CERT volunteer through a few simple steps. The training program spans over the course of 26 hours. It is lecture based learning fused with hands-on training. From this program one can learn the importance of working within a team and making your safety and others, a priority. Upon completing the course a volunteer is committed to being a prepared citizen for their community for both big or small disasters. CERT classes are offered in two different formats throughout the year with one weekend class or the choice of attending a seven week program.
The seven-week program meets once a week for approximately four hours and the weekend class begins on a Friday night, extending into an all day course on both Saturday and Sunday. Classes are available for sign up by visiting [email protected].