Jargon — More Vocab from the World of Emergency Preparedness
Police and Fire Department Introduce New CERT Jargon
(Preface: I’m sure you’ve heard that when you want to address the public, you should avoid acronyms or jargon and stick to commonly-used words. Well, you’ll be interested to know that one of my most popular articles was on the Vocabulary of CERT. It was filled with jargon! So I didn’t really hesitate when I started writing this article.)
We recently attended a CERT refresher training. Guest speakers were there from the Police Department and the Fire Department. They gave us more info on exactly how they are deployed under normal circumstances, and how that changes in an emergency.
Here are a few of the words and expressions. Do you know them all?
1. EDITH. Stands for “Exit Drills in the Home.” (Do you conduct them in your home? Do you practice when you have neighborhood trainings?)
2. FULL ACTION, NO ACTION. Applies to the Fire Department in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Yes, we know that their first mode will be NO ACTION as they survey the extent of the damage. Again, we heard that in NO ACTION mode the fire engine would drive right past your burning home or business without slowing down. Only after these First Responders have assured themselves of their own safety, and confirmed the status of their co-workers and families, will they switch to FULL ACTION.
3. CAR HOPPING. This, from the police. It refers to the practice of teenagers going from car to car until they find one that is unlocked. Stealing something from an unlocked car is a misdemeanor; breaking into the car to steal something is a felony. Criminals know the difference!
4. RED FLAG WARNING. A fire warning called by the U.S. National Weather Service; based on the local geography. Here in Southern California, a warning is called when the wind exceeds 25 mpg, the relative humidity is less than 15%, and the temperature is higher than 75 degrees. The warning causes reserves to be called up, public parks to be closed, and utility maintenance crews to be denied access to remote areas.
5. CATALYTIC CONVERTER. Not exactly jargon. But not often used to describe a hazard! A catalytic converter normally operates at about 1,200 to 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit (640-870 degrees Centigrade); if overworked, its temperature can reach 2,000 degrees F. (1,010 C.). Either way, it’s hot enough to start a fire if you drive over dried grass. Stay on the road with your car, or at least on the gravel. No off-road excursions!
Add these words to your CERT lexicon; sprinkle them liberally in group trainings. I think CERT folks everywhere like knowing this stuff!
Oh, and if you want to review that earlier jargon-filled article, here’s the link!
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