Roy Beam hopes his training will never be put to use.
Beam, a retired sergeant with the Highway Patrol, is a volunteer for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Volunteers on this team live in local neighborhoods, and stand ready to respond in the event of a tornado, flood, high winds or other natural disasters.
Some 40 CERT volunteers are spread throughout the county, and Rowan County offers a 20-hour training class as needed.
During training, volunteers learn how to prepare for a disaster, how to apply basic fire suppression to extinguish a fire, how to perform disaster first aid and triage, how to assist with search and rescue situations, how to perform damage assessment and more. At the end of training, each student receives a green CERT backpack filled with disaster supplies.
Since September is National Preparedness Month, Beam urges everyone to go through the training or even put together their own emergency kits.
Items may include:
1. a pair of heavy-duty work gloves
2. a first-aid kit with band-aids, bandages and dressings
3. a wrench, used to turn off gas meters
4. a flashlight and batteries
5. a pair of goggles and a hard hat
6. a roll of duct tape, which has multiple uses
7. a whistle
8. a filter mask to wear in smoke-filled areas
9. a silver, reflective emergency blanket
10. a pair of single-use medical gloves
11. a light stick
12. a backpack or other carrying case
Beam added a compass to his pack and a bottle of water. Information from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, through which CERT was formed, urges homeowners to pack enough fresh water, food and warm clothes to last three days.
“We’re gonna be there first if something happens in your community,” Beam says. “We want others to get involved and get training to be able to help, should the need arise. You can even use this kit within your own family.”
He adds, “We train, hopefully, never to get used.”
For more information about CERT training, contact advisors Lennie Cooper or Jeffrey Youngblood at 704-216-8900 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Jeffrey.email@example.com .
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.
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