Posts Tagged With: Prepping

Prepping with CERT

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Last weekend I had the pleasure of taking FEMA’s basic CERT (Citizen’s Emergency Response Team) class at my local fire department. Say what you will about FEMA, but this class is a prepper’s dream. Yes, you will get a lot of information that you already know, but you will be surprised at what you don’t. I have been prepping for a number of years, but this class humbled me. We are all beginners, no matter how long we have been at this. Here are a few things I wasn’t expecting:

  • You will meet like-minded folks from all different walks of life. We had a geologist, parents, fire and law enforcement personnel, HAM operators, and all manner of retired bad-asses and crazy geniuses in our group. This is an incredible networking opportunity!
  • You probably had a hunch that in a major disaster, help would be scarce. In your class, you will find out what your city/county resources really are and how they will be allocated. When you see where most folks fit in on that list, you will be, lets say, inspired to get your preps in order and truly be able to take care of yourself and your family should disaster strike.
  • You will learn about disaster psychology, which is often overlooked and so very important when dealing with panicked zombies, and/or your neighbors.

Day 1:

We covered CERT organization and ICS (Incident Command System). ICS is the structure under which CERT, and other responders, work. You will likely be required to take an online prerequisite which describes this chain of command. Our group was particularly fortunate to have a fire chief for a teacher, as he is very familiar with how things really go down in an emergency, and with the importance of having trained people in place should roads be impassable. Your first goal as a CERT is to take care of yourself and your family. Then, and only then, do you move on to help others. This helps ensure that you do not become another casualty for professional responders to deal with, when (perhaps days or weeks later) they can finally get to you.

Day 2:

I was delighted to come to class and find an EMT there to teach us all about triage and emergency medical treatment. The triage section was emotionally difficult. Nobody wants to think about sticking that black tag on another human being. The pictures were graphic and real. Ouch. I was eternally thankful the Chief had strong coffee for us early on a Saturday morning. The emergency medical treatment section was fascinating. Should I ever have to deal with a severed limb situation I feel quite prepared. How to treat a blocked airway or shock? Covered. What are the different types of burns and how do you deal with them? Covered. What do you do with someone who is running around with a head wound and shouting obscenities at you? Yep. Also, I got some great tips on things to put in my emergency medical kit. As in, what the pros are carrying. (Combat Action Tourniquet & SAM Splints)

Next came the fire suppression segment. I’m sure we all have fire extinguishers, but how well can you use one? It’s not just point and shoot, there is a finesse to it. Also, there are several different types and sizes. Does yours have a gauge? It should! Not only did we learn all about fire and fire extinguishers, but we got to don our gloves and goggles and put out a real friggin fire! BOO-YAH!

Day 3:

On this day we started with light search and rescue. It was all about keeping yourself safe while helping your neighbor who may be trapped in his home after a disaster. You know those FEMA markings we all saw on houses after Katrina? They seemed cryptic and scary to a lot of us, but really they were the scrawlings made by helpful volunteers who were trying to save lives. They let people know the house has been searched and what/who was found inside. We learned methods for carrying the incapacitated out of a dangerous situation as well as how to evaluate whether a structure is even safe to go searching in.

Disaster psychology was next, and this was a rough one. How do you deal emotionally with those terrible things you can never un-see?  It is so valuable to have a support network during and after a disaster. We all like to think that we will be able to keep on keepin’ on, but you have to keep in mind that you are not only the rescuer, but also a victim. These things are, as the Chief said, not things human beings were meant to see.

Next, there was a section on terrorism. Now, there is not a whole lot a CERT can do to help during a terrorist event, but this section includes a lot of info on sheltering in place.

We ended the day with a search and resucue simulation where we put our skills to the test. We broke out into Search, Rescue, and Medical Teams following and Incident Command Structure. We searched the firehouse and found someone (a dummy) trapped under a trailer and some downed wood. We used a leveraging and cribbing technique to extricate him, then evaluated his status. This is where it really hit home that drills are so very important. It took us a good 25 minutes from the time that we entered the building to the time we were evaluating him. We found that he was in shock, but the unbelievable part is we didn’t even see that he had a severed hand. Granted, this was a dummy, so no blood. But if we had done a proper head to toe check, we would have seen it. This guy was toast. Practice, practice, practice.

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Charley Davis


New Military Issue Combat Application Tourniquet, CAT


SAM Splint Combo Pack – 2 Orange & Blue Splints and 2 rolls Blue Cohesive Wrap


Nexis Preparedness Systems CT-521 C.E.R.T. Level-2 Backpack Kit

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How not to get overwhelmed when you start prepping

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When we start prepping, it usually happens because our eyes have been opened by something we’ve seen or experienced. Maybe you’ve just been through an earthquake or a tornado. You look around, and have a terrible revelation: If something happened, you might not make it. What if there were a run on the stores and you had no food or water for you and your family? What if roads were washed out and you couldn’t even get to to the store?

You vow to make an emergency preparedness kit. You begin by researching. Then, the veil is further lifted as you pour through article after article about all of the terrible things that could possibly happen. Panic sets in. Get more food stored! Get medical supplies! What about water? HOW IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO TACKLE ALL OF THIS!!!!

Take a breath.

Congratulate yourself on taking the first step toward preparedness for an uncertain future. Just knowing that you need to start is a HUGE step. But the lifting of ignorance can be powerful and overwhelming.

There is no way you can be prepared for everything, and be prepared by tomorrow. This is a journey. And every journey needs a map, or you will get hopelessly lost (just ask how I know).

The map below is by no means complete, but it is a great starting place. It starts with the most likely events, and trickles down to those less likely, but possibly more catastrophic events. The levels also build upon one another such that the skills and gear you acquire at earlier levels apply to later levels as well. This makes it possible for you to prepare for the most likely scenarios, while also making further levels more achievable. Sweet.

I’ll present one example here (more below):

Say you are preparing for level 1: job loss

You decide to store 3 month’s worth of staple food items in case you can’t afford to shop for groceries like you normally do.

Later, when you are preparing for say, level 2: Earthquake, you realize, “Hey! I already have 3 months of food stored away! Huzzah!”. Maybe you’ll put away another 3 month’s worth of food.

Then, when you are later preparing for Level 3: Economic collapse, you have 6 month’s worth of food already! Yay you!

So, without further ado, here is the map:

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Prepping Map

As you can see, each level has some sub categories. Feel free to add subcategories as you see fit for your geographic location and life circumstances. My suggestion is to pick one of the Level 1 subcategories and go for it! You will find that preparation for your chosen subcategory will most likely help along your preps for the next subcategory, and for all the levels that follow.

Here are a few examples:

In Level 1, you prepare for robbery or attack by learning Karate. That would certainly help on levels 2 and 3 if food ran out and otherwise pleasant folks were trying to steal from your larder.

In level 1, you build yourself a nice first aid kit. This will come in handy if a Level 2 or 3 disaster occurs, and a trip to the emergency room is out of the question.

Or, in Level 2, you prepare for power outage by learning to use a few electricity-free tools such as a manual drill or a dutch oven. That would prepare you for Level 3, EMP/CME.

We usually feel pretty scared and overwhelmed at this stage. Try to keep in the back of your mind that our preps should help us feel more secure, not less. Every little step counts!

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Charley Davis

A disclosure about affiliate links: Affiliate links allow me to make a small commission from sales related to posts. This is what keeps Funny Little Farm up and running, so if you would like to support the farm and you see something you need, this is a great place to get it!

Food Storage from The Ready Store


Ever Ready First Aid Fully Stocked First Responder Kit, Orange


Mountain House Classic Bucket

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