Article written for LWV of the Palatine area in preparation for their 2/28 event by:
Tom Smith, IPEM, Palatine EMA Coordinator
Have you ever considered what would happen if there were an emergency or a disaster and you called 9-1-1 and no one came? In a disaster situation such as Super Storm Sandy, that is more than likely a reality. Recent events have shown that first responders such as police, fire, emergency medical services and public works, will be overwhelmed and will not be able to help everyone immediately.
In Palatine for instance, the 2011 census showed that there were 68, 000 plus residents. Serving those residents are approximately 110 police officers, 95 fire fighters and 60 public works employees. Now assuming that they were all working at the time of a disaster, which would never happen, that leaves about 265 front line professionals responding to the needs of potentially 68,000 people. What do you think the likelihood is of you getting their services when you need them most?
Well take heed, all is not lost! Since the terrorist attacks of September 2011, Illinois has been offering the Community Emergency Response Training, or CERT, to its residents. The CERT curriculum is a 20½ hour basic preparedness class which focuses on what an individual can do to protect themselves, their family and friends, as well as help out in the community should they not be directly affected. Topics such as individual preparedness, basic medical concepts, search and rescue, terrorism, psychology and organization are covered during the course. In the 10 years that the course has been offered in Palatine, over 650 people have successfully completed the training.
So why prepare? What every disaster teaches us is that those individuals that are better prepared generally fare better than those that do not. Many people who chose not to prepare believe that a disaster will never effect them; and if it does affect them it will not be that bad; and if it that bad the government will take care of them Unfortunately we live in an entitled society where people believe that someone should take care of them; and that “someone” the general population turns to is the government.
CERT training will better prepare you to take care of yourself and your family in times of disasters. Be part of the solution not part of the problem; take CERT training!
To learn more about CERT, attend an informational meeting on Thursday, February 28 at 7 p.m. at the Palatine Police station, 595 N. Hicks Road.
Be Safe. Be Prepared.