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PRHS set to host emergency response training

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Emergency Preparedness is more important to Colorado than ever before. Wildfires, floods, blizzards, and security threats make it important to be prepared. That is why the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, has long supported the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program. CERT Training gives average citizens the skills necessary to respond to emergencies in their home, school, or workplace, before professional first responders arrive.
Starting in February, the El Paso County Office of Emergency Management, in conjunction with the Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church Emergency Preparedness group, will bring this nationally renowned CERT Training onto the campus of Palmer Ridge. Training will held in the Sunset Room from 5:30-9PM on Monday evenings, starting February 6th and ending March 6th. Training is free and open to teens and adults.
Participants in the CERT class will receive a certificate of completion for the FEMA sponsored course. More importantly, however, they will leave with knowledge that makes them more prepared for emergencies. Robin Adair, director of CERT for El Paso County, described CERT as “…hands-on training on how to prepare an emergency supply kit, put out small fires with an extinguisher, use a tourniquet to treat deep wounds, safely search a collapsed building to rescue victims, respond quickly in an active shooter situation, recognize a terrorist act, be aware of hazardous materials, and many more skills that will make you more ready and resilient in case of an emergency.” These skills prove crucial to the community’s safety in emergency situations, as “The more knowledge you have in these areas, the better your outcome will be in a disaster,” Adair added.
In disasters, local fire departments, police departments, and search and rescue teams quickly become swamped with numerous calls for help. That is why CERT training is so important. “Whether it’s a natural or human-caused disaster, professional responders are going to be overwhelmed. Community members will be on their own, at least for a time. It’s up to individuals to help each other in those first hours,” Adair stated. With proper training however, citizens can bridge the gap before professional first responders arrive on the scene. “You can do a lot more good for yourself, your family, and your community if you’ve trained and prepared ahead of time. Learning the skills you need in advance will make the outcome of the disaster better for everyone,” said Adair.
What makes natural disasters and other emergencies so dangerous is that they are unexpected. That is why CERT training is critical, especially for teens. “You never know when a disaster will strike — it could happen at school, if you’re out with friends, or when you’re on your own. In an emergency, whoever happens to be there is going to need to respond right away. With some training and knowledge, teens can save lives and protect the community,” Adair stated.

CERT Training also has many benefits for teens that extend beyond preparedness. “Gaining this training is also a great service to the community, and even a potential career exploration.” As high schoolers explore various career fields, CERT Training may be the inspirational spark that leads them down the path of public service as a first responder. “For many of the people who take CERT training, it’s just the beginning. Additional training is offered in areas like radio communications, wilderness survival, and more. There are also a variety of careers in the areas of preparation for, and recovery from, disasters. Local colleges offer programs in emergency planning and management. Many choose to become part of the El Paso County CERT team, a group of volunteers who support operations in real disasters and help educate the community about preparedness.”
Opportunities also exist to develop a culture of preparedness within Palmer Ridge High School. Nationally, preparedness Clubs, first aid classes, and student-led emergency exercises all help to make numerous school communities more prepared. Adair stated, “Some schools have even established teen CERT teams for their campuses, with regular training opportunities and hands-on skills practice.” That type of framework can easily be brought to Palmer Ridge, with a little bit of training and some student-led initiative.
For more information on the free Adult and Teen CERT Training at Palmer Ridge High School (Monday Evenings from February 6th- March 6th), please call Robin Adair at 719-575-8858. To sign up for the training, please visit http://epccertfeb17.eventzilla.net

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PRHS set to host emergency response training