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CERT final class exercise - team members record victim information in the triage area (April 13, 2017). Photo: Discover Ferndale

Neighbors & school district gear up to help in emergencies

Many people in the Ferndale area are equipping themselves to be prepared to help others in the event of anything from an individual medical emergency to a regional disaster.

Ferndale School District (FSD) staff have begun training on lifesaving medical skills that can make a big difference to a traumatic injury victim during the time before professional medics arrive. Skills taught go beyond basic first aid including methods for stopping bleeding and packing open wounds.

According to an article in a recent FSD Business Services Newsletter, “Our plan is to provide Trauma First Aid Training to all staff.” Teachers, administrators and other school staff are scheduled to receive this training.

Training began April 10th when the executive team attended the first class.

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FSD Assistant Superintendent Mark Deebach said training is being provided at no cost to the district by Customs and Border Protection. Needed supplies are paid for out of the district’s operating budget.

In addition to district staff receiving trauma aid training, 12 people from around the area recently completed an 8-week course equipping them to help out in the event of a large-scale incident or disaster. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) course certifies them as qualified members of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). The Ferndale-based course’s final field exercise scenario was an emergency disaster response with 12 volunteer victims (photos below) and was held at the Whatcom County Fire District 7 Church Road fire station.

The 3-hour weekly classes provide hands-on basic disaster response skill training including trauma aid and search and rescue techniques. Students also learn team protocols and emergency communications, including HAM radios, used by Emergency Operation Centers in the event of disasters.

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CERT members can provide support in the first hours of an emergency while first-responders are likely to be overwhelmed.

CERT course graduates are encouraged to continue attending classes and participate in regular drills and exercises to keep their skills sharp and knowledge up-to-date. In addition to responding in emergencies, CERT members are also called upon to assist in public safety efforts and participate in community service projects.

CERT courses are available on an ongoing basis throughout Whatcom County from the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Division of Emergency Management and are open to the public. Click here to start the process of enrolling in a future course.

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