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JPaul

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2,350
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Way up north, UT
So I've started taking my CERT training (Community Emergency Response Team) our city is doing. I figure I finally have the time and resources to commit to doing it (it's a 7 week course, 3 hours at night once each week, I used to work swings so it wasn't possible before).

I'm only one class in so far, but this week is when they are doing the fire suppression training so I'm pretty stoked for that. Last week's class was pretty much an intro and overview of what CERT is and does, overview of the course, and some basics about disasters and disaster response. I think it's going to be really good for me to do this, I'll be able to better take care of my family in case of an emergency, as well as being better able to help out in my neighborhood if anything major happens. While we seem to be pretty darn sheltered here in Utah, I know we're not immune from everything, and of course they always are talking about "the big one" (7.0 earthquake that is just waiting to strike, and is theoretically long past due).

Is anyone else on here CERT certified? I know we've got some SAR guys, but I don't think I've seen anyone mention CERT.
 

SuperBuickGuy

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3,403
Location
Woodinville, WA
I teach CERT, we consider it the lessor and included evil of SAR :)
the best part about CERT is it forces you to meet your neighbors - survival is much easier when it's not just you.
 

3Hummers

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Staff member
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10,183
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Central Texas
Not CERT certified. Used to be HOPE certified and part of the Red Cross disaster response team. Had to take classes in First Aid, Disaster and Mass Disaster Response, Logistics, etc. Offered up to be part of the communications team since I am a licensed HAM radio operator but they didn't seem to know what to do with me or how to use me.
 

JPaul

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2,350
Location
Way up north, UT
Yeah, SAR has much more stringent requirements and expectations, plus they work in very different situations than CERT. I certainly don't have any delusions of grandeur.

Aside from not really having time before, another part of what held me off on it was the prospect of having to be responsible for responding in an emergency. But I realize now that CERT is more of a "neighbor helping neighbor" kind of thing so that the real emergency services can focus on more critical issues. Which is something I would likely end up doing anyway in the event of a real disaster, so I might as well at least have someone show me how to do it safely and effectively.

And the gear I'll end up with isn't really anything I wouldn't eventually have in my H3 anyway (except maybe the hard hat). I view my H3 as a larger version of my EDC, such as I can't carry a large first aid kit with me on my person at all times, but my H3 will almost always be pretty close by. Speaking of, I really need to get the stuff I already have in there organized, it's a mess right now.
 

Stoic Bluejay

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Messages
81
Location
The ILL
Sounds like a good way to meet neighbors that are not oxygen thieves. :woot: I like it. Of course can't say I'm a huge fan of dealing with the public, have had enough of it in my current profession to last quit a while. Lol. I haven't hear of either program around here. Would def. be happy for someone during a natural disaster to step up and help feed our GREAT DANE. Past two months he will be out of luck on hound chow!
 

JPaul

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,350
Location
Way up north, UT
I'm sure there are plenty of small cats/dogs/children it could find to munch on.

In the current class I only know a few of the people are my immediate neighbors, and that's only because I go to church with them. I'm not sure how many of the other people in the class live right by me. The class is for the entire city, which West Valley UT covers a 35 square mile area, one of the bigger cities here area wise, and is the second biggest by population (second only to Salt Lake City itself, which covers 109 square miles but only has 60K more people). And we only have 5 fire stations with about 30 active firefighters. Not sure if that's a lot or a little or just right, but Salt Lake has 14 stations and 323 firefighters...

Speaking of fire, next week is the fire suppression module, so I get to try my hand at putting out a fire with an extinguisher. I can honestly say I'd probably never try that on my own, simply because I don't want to waste $30-40 on an extinguisher just to have to buy another one.
 

SuperBuickGuy

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3,403
Location
Woodinville, WA
Ummm... I hate to be Mr. Obvious, but most of your good Mormon neighbors have a year worth of food in their pantries....just sayin'

I know this is crude, but you need to think this way - CERT tells you what your neighbors have so that you can survive an emergency... CERT teaches you leadership skills so that you can do what you need to do. One thing CERT doesn't do is keep you from being chased out of Disaster zones by SAR/Police or by the Feds.... it's an interesting relationship there: Feds hate cops who hate SAR who hate CERT who hate civilians. Yet it's funny, when bad happens, people who the day before were abusing the other person are suddenly best friends and working like they were twins.... this is one of those "the more you know' kind of things... disasters bring the best and worst out of people - trained people who get the adrenaline rush of saving others are quite cannibalistic in their actions when disaster isn't happening.

As far as HAM, CERT works with local HAMs as part of their communication network - if you're part of a HAM community, odds are there are people in your group who do SAR/Reserves/CERT/FEMA and Red Cross... Red Cross is funny, they used to be active in mass-casualty response, then focused their mission on medical, now are going back into mass casualty...
 

JPaul

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,350
Location
Way up north, UT
Actually you'd be surprised how many of us Mormons don't have a year's worth of food. I know quite a few that don't even have anything approaching food storage. I myself still only have about a months worth or so (just recently was able to really start working on it). Working on building it up, but it takes time. I also question how many that do have much in food storage even know how to actually use it on a daily basis. I grew up with my mom making home made wheat bread from scratch (amongst many other food items), I actually have the very wheat grinder attachment for the KitchenAid that she used and use it to make my own home made bread. I grew up in New Hampshire, didn't move out here until 2005 (spent a few years in Colorado Springs first). Granted, we're more likely to be prepared compared to others, but it's definitely not a guarantee. I recall one time when I was a teenager one of my coworkers suddenly asked me if I was Mormon. I told her "Yes, but what makes you ask?" (Remember this was in New Hampshire, a state not known for having lots of LDS members...). She said it was because I had a flashlight on my keychain and she knew Mormons were prepared like that. I told her it was more because I had been through Boy Scouts and our motto was "Be Prepared." I found it highly interesting that she jumped to thinking I was LDS over being a Boy Scout in that area.

Frankly I'm ok if another, more official group wants to take charge in a disaster. I'm more keen on taking care of myself and my family more than anyone else, and due to the way the LDS church tends to operate I'd still end up helping out those around me even if I didn't go through CERT (we're big on helping out our neighbors even if they aren't members, or at least that is what we teach, individual members don't always follow through on those teachings sadly).

I kinda wondered how the other agencies really view CERT, and I am not surprised to hear that they probably tend think of CERT as being, well, less than useful. The same happens with the ham guys, more official organizations tend to view them as being overzealous old guys with radios that just get in the way. Of course the tune changes when the crazy old ham guy ends up being your only way to get in touch with anyone more than a couple miles away, or the CERT people are the only ones available to help with managing a disaster in that area. Like I said, no delusions of grandeur, I just figure it's a good way to get some training to be more effective in a disaster, even if it's just being able to take care of myself and my own family better.

Red Cross does seem a bit, odd, when it comes to disaster management. I'm not wholly sure what they really do anymore except ask me for more of my blood, and teach CPR.
 
Messages
1,248
Location
New Jersey
I am a Fireman, part of OEM and CERT, and former EMT(which I hope to recertify in the near future) being a fireman pretty much got me into CERT without needing to take almost any classes, because of all the certifications I already have from the Fire department. But believe me it's all worth while training, and yes you definitely get closer to the community, learning all the know how's and in and outs for emergency situations in your own township.
 

The_Mountain

Well-Known Member
Messages
109
Location
Cow Hampshire
Ummm... I hate to be Mr. Obvious, but most of your good Mormon neighbors have a year worth of food in their pantries....just sayin'

I know this is crude, but you need to think this way - CERT tells you what your neighbors have so that you can survive an emergency... CERT teaches you leadership skills so that you can do what you need to do. One thing CERT doesn't do is keep you from being chased out of Disaster zones by SAR/Police or by the Feds.... it's an interesting relationship there: Feds hate cops who hate SAR who hate CERT who hate civilians. Yet it's funny, when bad happens, people who the day before were abusing the other person are suddenly best friends and working like they were twins.... this is one of those "the more you know' kind of things... disasters bring the best and worst out of people - trained people who get the adrenaline rush of saving others are quite cannibalistic in their actions when disaster isn't happening.

As far as HAM, CERT works with local HAMs as part of their communication network - if you're part of a HAM community, odds are there are people in your group who do SAR/Reserves/CERT/FEMA and Red Cross... Red Cross is funny, they used to be active in mass-casualty response, then focused their mission on medical, now are going back into mass casualty...

Expecting to scavenge off your neighbors' preps, or making that a primary component of your survival plan, is a good way to not last very long at all in a SHTF situation. In a major crisis situation, where you're to the point of needing to get at a neighbor's stash to survive, you're directly threatening their life and the lives of their family. At that point, your neighbor is fully justified to act in self-defense. If it's *really* bad, as in WRoL, then your neighbor might just decide that he needs to do something preemptive about you before you even think about going after his stuff.

I'd be making a "little list" of anyone in my AO who had thoughts along those lines....just sayin'


ETA: And anyone who buddies up to me, and then expresses the opinion that "hey, if things get tight, I'll just come to your place", is going to be met with the response "great! I could use the fresh meat!". Again, just sayin'.

Buy your own stuff, put up enough supplies that you aren't likely to ever need to count on someone else's stuff, and *then* build community ties with like-minded individuals. Mutual defense is a reasonable strategy in a crisis; expecting others to make up your shortsightedness isn't. Even if you manage to convince someone to provide you the food/medicine/supplies you didn't procure yourself, expect to pay DEARLY for them, along the lines of "Full day of hard manual labor + humble and grateful attitude = one rationed meal for one person".
 
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3Hummers

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10,183
Location
Central Texas
Any training that you think will help you in a disaster situation is worthwhile. I recommend everyone have CPR and First Aid training as a minimum. HAM, woodcraft, hunting, fishing skills can be enjoyed year round and enhance your ability to take care of your family and yourself also. I would also recommend proficiency with defensive weapons and skills in case the situation devolves into a situation where you may have to defend your family. Likely never come to that but if it does you want to be able to execute the skills necessary to protect your loved ones.
 

JPaul

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,350
Location
Way up north, UT
Hunting is still something I want to try out (I've had elk and thoroughly enjoyed it), but I've had trouble getting started (I have a good rifle and decent shotgun, but other than that...), everyone I know that hunts does it as family trips (and despite all of my hints and outright telling them I'd like to learn how to hunt, they don't seem keen on inviting me to join them). Maybe this year I can finally break into it, albeit on my own most likely.
 

SuperBuickGuy

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,403
Location
Woodinville, WA
Expecting to scavenge off your neighbors' preps, or making that a primary component of your survival plan, is a good way to not last very long at all in a SHTF situation. In a major crisis situation, where you're to the point of needing to get at a neighbor's stash to survive, you're directly threatening their life and the lives of their family. At that point, your neighbor is fully justified to act in self-defense. If it's *really* bad, as in WRoL, then your neighbor might just decide that he needs to do something preemptive about you before you even think about going after his stuff.

I'd be making a "little list" of anyone in my AO who had thoughts along those lines....just sayin'


ETA: And anyone who buddies up to me, and then expresses the opinion that "hey, if things get tight, I'll just come to your place", is going to be met with the response "great! I could use the fresh meat!". Again, just sayin'.

Buy your own stuff, put up enough supplies that you aren't likely to ever need to count on someone else's stuff, and *then* build community ties with like-minded individuals. Mutual defense is a reasonable strategy in a crisis; expecting others to make up your shortsightedness isn't. Even if you manage to convince someone to provide you the food/medicine/supplies you didn't procure yourself, expect to pay DEARLY for them, along the lines of "Full day of hard manual labor + humble and grateful attitude = one rationed meal for one person".

you need to take the Psychology of a disaster that is part of the CERT training - your comment is interesting, but not what I'm talking about. For example, my neighbors know I have 3 or 4 chainsaws - they don't own a chainsaw because they know I have it and am willing to help them. I know which neighbors are medically challenged and which would be ones to rely on in an emergency. I also know which one is the practicing Mormon ;)

What's funny about your comment is "like minded individuals" would be like camping with wolves... they'll help you just so long as you're useful. Or, to quote Julius Caesar "et tu Brutus?"
 
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SuperBuickGuy

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Messages
3,403
Location
Woodinville, WA
Any training that you think will help you in a disaster situation is worthwhile. I recommend everyone have CPR and First Aid training as a minimum. HAM, woodcraft, hunting, fishing skills can be enjoyed year round and enhance your ability to take care of your family and yourself also. I would also recommend proficiency with defensive weapons and skills in case the situation devolves into a situation where you may have to defend your family. Likely never come to that but if it does you want to be able to execute the skills necessary to protect your loved ones.

Red Green is right - you don't have to be handsome if you're handy.... the same applies to disasters. Being skilled in survival (and I don't mean the ability to know that cattails are edible - blech -) is the most important thing to know.

JP - product rotation is the mother of all failure in survival stores. Most people have no idea how to prepare food that survives for decades, rather have canned things which last maybe a year. As for meat - it's good if you can get it, but knowing how to live off a plant-based diet for the area in which you live is far more likely to sustain you.... the biggest problem with meat is you're not going to eat 500 lbs of elk in one sitting and without refrigeration - your only other choice is to dry the meat, which is a true skill that not many have. Worst part of drying meat is you're stuck in one place for at least a week with a smoky fire....

oh and the other issue - 4 legged predators, they smell dead meat miles away and will run you into the ground to get what's on your back...

the other issue many have is they are so accustomed to sugary foods, that they cannot use the similar diet as the ancients without going into a low-blood sugar emergency.... doubly bad is now you have someone who was just marginally reasonable who is hungry). In the time of Christ (for example) people generally ate once per day... sure, they could supplement with a bit of bread or dried meat in the morning.... but most lived on one meal per day.... of course, "huge" people were 6-0 200 lbs... most people were 5-4, 130 lbs... the more you move, the harder it is to survive.

I know it sounds mean, but CPR encumbers you with another person who cannot provide yet must be provided for... skills? how to generate electricity; how to get safe water; what plants are edible (pine nuts anyone?); storage; how to dry camp; how to dispose of waste; survival-level 1st aid- the stuff fire departments teach is great but pretty useless since hospitals simply won't exist (you haven't lived until you've stitched up a ham); if you have special needs - such as diabetes - know how to make the medicine it takes for you to survive; shelters (how to use your mcmansion for firewood would be a good working-title of that class); mechanics - but even more important, if you break - how do you fix it? simple is great, but many times you need something a bit more complex to really thrive....

in addition to that - psychology of disaster taught by CERT is a pretty good start; but understanding how to defuse situations is important.
 
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JPaul

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Messages
2,350
Location
Way up north, UT
HA! I love Red Green. It's been too long since I've watched that show.

With regards to the meat, yeah, I've never really viewed it as a viable option for survival in a SHTF as the sheer number of people that are around would probably send deer into extinction in a large scale (national) event. We joke about the herd of deer that are in our area being our "food storage on the hoof" but honestly, they'd be wiped out within minutes most likely if anything major happened (like an EMP or nuke or something). Personally I just think it'd be fun to go hunting, elk tastes good, and it's not a bad skill to have.

It sounds like you've put a lot of thought into much of this, I like it. I try to be reasonable and look at how things would actually work out because it is pretty easy to get all caught up with it and get carried away. I tend to shake my head at people that think "oh, I'll just bug out to the mountains and be all set." It just sounds like a great way to die all alone. It's far easier and safer to work with others to survive. Just like you were indicating earlier, if you've got a bunch of people with you, then you can distribute the load. As much fun as it might be to learn how to survive 100% on my own, it's a lot easier to just have someone I know that can perform minor surgery when needed, another that has access to tools I can't afford, etc.

Do you have any suggestions as to where to turn next for learning more once I'm done with the CERT training?
 

The_Mountain

Well-Known Member
Messages
109
Location
Cow Hampshire
you need to take the Psychology of a disaster that is part of the CERT training - your comment is interesting, but not what I'm talking about. For example, my neighbors know I have 3 or 4 chainsaws - they don't own a chainsaw because they know I have it and am willing to help them. I know which neighbors are medically challenged and which would be ones to rely on in an emergency. I also know which one is the practicing Mormon ;)

What's funny about your comment is "like minded individuals" would be like camping with wolves... they'll help you just so long as you're useful. Or, to quote Julius Caesar "et tu Brutus?"

Wasn't intending to impugn you at all. I may have misread your comment, due to the juxtaposition of "your Mormon neighbors have a year of food in their pantries" + "knowing what your neighbors have so you can survive an emergency".
 

3Hummers

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10,183
Location
Central Texas
Living in the country, at least in Texas, you sort of have a built in web of "like minded people". By that I mean they are all pretty handy at hard work, fixing things, hunting, fishing, woodcraft and well prepared and well stocked also. Most you are pretty friendly with, go the range with, help fix their tractor, etc. I realize it isn't that way everywhere. I am lucky that I can count on significant mutual support if needed.
 

SuperBuickGuy

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Messages
3,403
Location
Woodinville, WA
Wasn't intending to impugn you at all. I may have misread your comment, due to the juxtaposition of "your Mormon neighbors have a year of food in their pantries" + "knowing what your neighbors have so you can survive an emergency".


It's all good. Eventually we get to the same page, it's just a lot tougher on the internet to get there because it's so 2 dimensional.

As long as you remember that people are bastard coated bastards with extra creamy bastard filling - you'll be fine. Or to go all fine-art on you, Machiavelli wrote in his Letter to a Prince (1600s) that it's better to be surrounded by your enemies then it is to be surrounded by friends because you never know which of your friends is going to stab you. CERT is absolutely right in their suggestion about knowing your neighbors - they're as invested as you in maintaining what you love, others? In addition, even if you don't really get along with your neighbors - you know them and that's half the battle. Strangers with a similar agenda? well now that simply depends.
 

SuperBuickGuy

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Messages
3,403
Location
Woodinville, WA
HA! I love Red Green. It's been too long since I've watched that show.

With regards to the meat, yeah, I've never really viewed it as a viable option for survival in a SHTF as the sheer number of people that are around would probably send deer into extinction in a large scale (national) event. We joke about the herd of deer that are in our area being our "food storage on the hoof" but honestly, they'd be wiped out within minutes most likely if anything major happened (like an EMP or nuke or something). Personally I just think it'd be fun to go hunting, elk tastes good, and it's not a bad skill to have.

It sounds like you've put a lot of thought into much of this, I like it. I try to be reasonable and look at how things would actually work out because it is pretty easy to get all caught up with it and get carried away. I tend to shake my head at people that think "oh, I'll just bug out to the mountains and be all set." It just sounds like a great way to die all alone. It's far easier and safer to work with others to survive. Just like you were indicating earlier, if you've got a bunch of people with you, then you can distribute the load. As much fun as it might be to learn how to survive 100% on my own, it's a lot easier to just have someone I know that can perform minor surgery when needed, another that has access to tools I can't afford, etc.

Do you have any suggestions as to where to turn next for learning more once I'm done with the CERT training?

I still think the toughest part about survival is the mental part. In that vein, do a lot of camping - when I was in high school a few friends and I would have "challenges" where we'd see how light we could travel for a 3 or 4 days time period. Think of it as Naked and Afraid but without the naked (well, there was that one time but .... heh, she still makes me smile here 20 years later...) know how to camp in desert or mountain, forest or sand.

I'll also suggest that people who are more religious minded have an advantage - take this in the spirit it's intended (a suggestion to do with as you wish) - but knowing who you are from a mental capability standpoint is the most important thing you can do to prepare. Boot camp is this for military folks - it drives them to depend on others and find just how far they can reach yet still accomplish the task at hand. Most people who survive in the wild will make large mention of how they found the will to live and how it was the most important thing they carried.

this is the tl;dr part - it's surprising how many people comment about how they had the tools to survive but didn't have them when they needed them. For example, I keep forgetting to put a first aid kit in our 2nd car. Want to guess the only car that I've ever needed the kit I carry in my Hummer? The other bit is the internet and cable tv have done amazing things to make learning skills accessible. Reality TV, not so much (as well as any of the survivor shows) but things like How it's Made really open the doors to knowledge that would be hard to find and immensely useful when seen.

So there it is: be mentally prepared;always have the 10 essentials with you, no matter where you're at; never stop learning; practice; and join groups like 4x4 teams/SAR/etc to get more skills and experience.
 

JPaul

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,350
Location
Way up north, UT
So I had my last class last night, and tonight is the drill. It's been a very interesting and informative course. Even though our practice SAR last night went terribly (I did good, I was the comms guy at incident command), it's been a great experience. I will be glad to be done with the class though, it's been a very busy and intense couple of months with that stacked on top of everything else I've had going on. I still need to get a main pack put together properly, but I have a waistpack that's fitted out fairly well with medical supplies. I still have a ways to go though until I feel properly prepared, lots of stuff to do at home and with the H3.
 

JPaul

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Messages
2,350
Location
Way up north, UT
The drill went well, overall. We had to stop after about 20 minutes in and reset though, we were doing horribly again. The second time went better, mostly due to a lot of coaching by the firefighters helping train us. It was a very worthwhile experience, and I'm now much better prepared to help in case of a disaster.
 

JPaul

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,350
Location
Way up north, UT
I plan on going to each of the drills they have, they do two a year, there will be another in the fall. I'm also hooking up with our city's ham radio group to start learning how to help them out with comms during an emergency/disaster.

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