*CERT: Learning To Save Lives (Part 4)*
By: Hikage
15 December 2003

For an Introduction to these articles, please review CERT: Learning To Save Lives (Part 1), which was posted 5 November 2002. At the time of this writing, they were organized under Basic NBC.

On with Part 4!

Disaster Psychology

A disaster can cause a person to become dull, indecisive, or hyperactive. CERT members must be prepared for the trauma they may face. You must be calm, positive, decisive, systematic, and even-paced. It is important to be aware of what is happening, and talk about if after you have completed the rescue.

Emotional Overload can be avoided by allowing both the victim and rescuer to have freedom of emotional expression, so long as it is not interfering with the rescue.


The Victim's Feelings

- disorientation, physical and emotional numbing

- loss of control, extreme fright, helplessness

- loss of trust, abandonment

- anger resulting from all of the above

Emotional first aid for the victim

- establish a rapport

- listen and be empathetic

- respect confidentiality and privacy



- want to help

- know your physical and mental limits, and obey them

- don't become a victim

Operation behavior

- stay calm and be positive

- be a leader, demonstrate by example

- pace yourself, don't overextend

- be systematic

Rescuer considerations

- brief team prior to rescue operation

- emphasize teamwork

- rotate personnel

- take breaks away from the incident

- proper nutrition (needs will be greater)

- debriefing, discuss what happened



Resist the urge to run directly to your child after a disaster strikes. You cannot afford to risk injury in this flight. Slow, systematic thinking must start immediately! You must protect yourself so that you can help others.

If one has a baby, at least a three day's supply should be stored of formula, bottles, food, juices, pacifiers, diapers, baby wipes, rash ointment, medications, teething rings, change of clothing, blankets and other special items. Keep at least one day's supply in your car.

Older children should have their rooms prepared the same as an adult's. The bed should be away from the window, and any heavy objects. A flashlight, shoes, and glasses should be kept by the bed.

If your child is in school of any kind, talk with the teachers about disaster plans and "Permission to Treat" forms on file with the school.

Cover what you can with your child, based upon their age and maturity. Discuss the plans involved if someone else is to pick them up from school. let them know it may take some time before you or someone else is there to pick them up.

If they are old enough to be left alone, make sure they understand what to do in the event of an emergency. They should know what gas smells like, and how to detect fires.

Develop a message system for leaving notes. During disasters, take an extra effort to notify everyone of condition and presence.

Talk about plans, and rehearse your drills.

Disabled and Elderly Persons

Make sure beds and work areas are well away from falling hazards. Make sure an elderly person can still get through their room or house on foot or in a wheel chair. Fasten down life support systems with velcro and other secure means. Discuss with your neighbors or others how they can shut off your utilities for you, and aid you in getting out of the house. Don't let pride stand in the way of survival.

Keep the following items next to your bed:

Flashlight and whistle


Extra Medication

Pencils and paper

List of medications and dosages

Written description of current medical condition

Relative's name, address, and phone number

Doctor's name, address, and phone number

If you rely upon elevators, make sure you have at least two accessible emergency exits, and a realistic evacuation plan. Find a Buddy to work with in getting out safely at work or home.

If you are in a wheelchair, stay in it and turn away from windows or glass. Move the chair into a doorway with your back toward the hinge or into an open space away from hazards and falling objects. Set the brake on the chair, lean over and hold a pillow or book over even a wastebasket over your head and neck.

If it would be impossible or difficult to get out from underneath a desk, then don't get under it for protection. It will defeat the purpose.

If you have difficulty moving, assess the situation. Sometimes the safest thing to do may be to stay put.


Emergency Supplies

72-Hour supply kit

Water - 1 gallon per person per day minimum

Food - to last a family at least a week

Bleach - 1 gallon to purify domestic water

Sanitation Supplies

Hygiene Supplies

Flashlights, Portable Radio, Extra Batteries

Fire Extinguisher

First Aid Kit

Prescription Medicines and Eye Glasses

Heavy Clothes, Boots or Shoes

Small Hand Tools and Shutoff Wrench



Camp Stove and Extra Fuel

Camp Supplies, Tent, Sleeping Bag, Lantern

Cooking and Eating Utensils, Can Opener

Paper Plates and Cups

Plastic Garbage Bags, Heavy Duty

Aluminum Foil, Plastic Wrap, Ziploc Bags

Waterproof Matches

Pet Provisions



Extra Medication

Pencils and Paper

List of Medications and Dosages

Written Description of Current Medical Condition

Relative's and Doctor's Name, Address, and Phone Number

Perishable supplies should be replaced at least once a year

Treating Water

If water is clear, 2 drops of bleach for 1 quart, or 8 drops for 1 gallon. If water is cloudy double these amounts.

After adding bleach, shake and stir the water and let stand thirty minutes before drinking.

Foods should be durable, and easy to maintain and cook in times of disaster where you may have no electricity.

Keep a complete change of clothing wrapped up to remain dry for each family member. These should be heavy clothes for protection against injury and environment.

There are many many more recommendations in the CERT book, but guess what? This is Alpha Rubicon! When it comes to preparation, you guys are ahead of the game! It is all sage advice involving improvisation and thinking ahead. As a fellow survivalist, I'm always proud to already have these bases covered.

Now for the items you need as a CERT volunteer.


CERT Supplies for your GO-KIT (what we'd call a BOB ;oP )


Water and Food

Flashlight, Extra Batteries, and Bulbs

Fire Extinguisher

First Aid Kit


Portable Radio and Batteries

Heavy Clothes and Boots




Eye Protection

Dust Mask

Knee Pads

Latex Gloves

Masking Tape

Duct Tape

Utility Shutoff Tools

Prying Tools, Cutting Tools, Battering and Striking Tools


Carpentry Tools



Heavy-Duty Marker Pens (I chose colored construction crayon pencils)

Plastic Garbage Bags

Toilet Paper


Note Pad and Pens/Pencils in ziploc bag

CERT Forms



Well, that's the end of this one. On 5 November 2003, I am supposed to attend a brand new class entitled, "Terrorism and Incident Command". I am looking forward to it, and hope to write up a report for you all that very night.



Paraphrasing and direct quotes taken from City of Newark CERT Student Training Manual. Newark, California.

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