Local CERT Members Assist During Recent Brush Fires
July 11, 2014
On Tuesday, July 1, 2014, multiple agencies responded to reports of a brush fire in the Brooker Creek Preserve near the Hawks Landing subdivision. In the early afternoon, the second of multiple brush fires flared up and kept firefighters busy for many hours. The heat index on the fireground was estimated at about 102 degrees. This extreme temperature along with the prolonged time was just one factors that required crews to enter firefighter rehabilitation.
Firefighter rehabilitation has been defined as an intervention designed to mitigate against the physical, physiological, and emotional stress of fire fighting in order to sustain a member’s energy, improve performance, and decrease the likelihood of on-scene injury or death.
In addition to crews battling the brush fire another local resource was mobilized. This resource was the East Lake Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.
East Lake CERT was activated shortly before 4 PM to assist in providing with firefighter rehabilitation. CERT members met at East Lake Fire Rescue Station 57 to load up the needed supplies. Team members assisted in the setup and layout of the rehabilitation center. Firefighters were checked in and out of the center by CERT along with the setup of cooling chairs along with distribution of coolers, ice, cold towels, snacks and water.
Training is invaluable to having a successful CERT. In addition to the required basic training, many other training modules have been developed such as animal response, emergency communications, leadership, traffic/crowd management, search and rescue, firefighter rehabilitation, and flood response.
East Lake CERT had just completed a training session on firefighter rehabilitation the evening of June 23rd just about a week prior to this real activation.
Additional information can be found HERE regarding CERT and the location of local programs. Both East Lake and Lealman CERT frequently hold free basic training sessions.
Previous IONTB article on an East Lake CERT training exercise can be found HERE