Posts Tagged ‘block captain’

Lists for Active Preppers and Leaders

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

The Good Stuff from CERT and NERT

Big FlashlightOver the years Joe and I have been involved in both CERT and NERT training. CERT is Community Emergency Response Team training, a course and refreshers offered by our city. NERT is our informal Neighborhood Emergency Response Team, with its own unofficial and customized training.

At both CERT and NERT get-togethers we end up sharing ideas for useful supplies and gear, and, of course, ideas for how to stay on track.  We’ve documented many of these conversations and trainings in the over 200 Advisories here at Emergency Plan Guide.

Since I have been getting requests for one list or another, I thought I’d just bundle a few of them together in one place for easy reference. So . . .

Here are 7 popular lists for individual and family survival kits.

They should all sound familiar to you!

(Follow the links to get to each Advisory.)

Lists of meeting agenda ideas for group leaders.

If you are looking for ideas for a meeting agenda, just grab one of the Advisories above and use it to stage a “show and tell.” You can bring your own kit and get group members to bring theirs. Always a success!

And don’t forget, we’ve gathered up a collection of something like 50 meeting agenda ideas pulled from all the meetings we’ve held over the years. Here’s the link to the page where you can download them immediately. (And yes, we do charge a little for the books. It helps us continue to buy and share emergency items with our team!)

Three more lists, specifically for Neighborhood Teams’ “Block Captains.”

No matter how your neighborhood group is set up, at the very ground level you’ll have a number of people who have agreed to get to know their “block” of neighbors (a block could be a building, a floor, a department, or actually a block), to check in with them in an emergency, and report on their condition to the designated leader.

We find that Block Captains are the heart of our neighborhood group, so we encourage their active participation by making sure they get their own specialized resources.

1-Block Captain Supplies for CERT graduates

Have you taken the formal CERT training? If so, then you already have received a first set of supplies. For example, our local CERT graduates come away with:

  • A vest with reflective stripes
  • Duffle bag
  • Helmet
  • Flashlight
  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask
  • Gloves

(Other CERT programs supply their members with different items. The list above is from our local program, only. actually offers a variety of CERT kits starting at around $50 and going up from there. Take a look at all the gear included in these kits to see what you might want to include in yours.)

By the time the class is over, most of our CERT members have added to their bags – first aid items, a few tools, duct and making tape, pens and tablets to write on, headlamps, etc. The duffle bag can get very heavy very quickly; most people keep them in their cars.

2-Block Captain Under-the-Bed Kit

As far as local Block Captain duties are concerned, we have been able to outfit our captains – whether or not they are CERT graduates – with just a few essential items:

  • A reflective vest
  • Walkie-talkie and extra batteries
  • Clipboard, tablet and pen for taking notes
  • Flashlight
  • Whistle
  • A reminder checklist of what to do in an emergency

You can get a Block Captain outfitted with the above items for less than $30. (Most expensive item is the Walkie-talkie/hand-held radio at around $15.) Buying items in bulk can reduce that cost.

And we truly call this the “under the bed” kit. (As I’ve mentioned before, we recommend that all our Block Captains also store shoes under the bed. If something happens, we want to be able to jump into action – safely!)

3-Block Captain Step-by-Step Checklist

Block Captain ChecklistOur NERT volunteers carry a quick reminder checklist of their primary duty when the community is hit by an emergency. It’s a card similar to the one to the left.

As you can see, this card assumes that the community has already been organized into Divisions; everyone has a walkie-talkie and understands the way channels have been assigned. Your own checklist needs to reflect the vocabulary and set-up of your organization.

In any case, the list needs to be SIMPLE and HANDY. You might consider laminating it to give it a bit more heft.

When we bring a new member aboard, we present him/her with some items at the orientation, and then present the rest when the new Block Captain is introduced to the group. People like to be recognized – and this is an important role they are going to be playing!

And we find that getting free “gear” encourages other people to join in.

What lists or checklists have you found to be helpful as you manage your own preparedness? And do you have suggestions for helping a group get formed and stay interested?  Pass ’em along!

Your Emergency Plan Guide team

Develop Leadership Strengths Through CERT

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

One of the basic premises of Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training is to develop leadership.

In an emergency, the first qualified person on the scene takes the reins of leadership as the “Incident Commander,” following the CERT guidelines . . . but then turns over that leadership to a more qualified member of the team who may join the action later.

This is one of the reasons you want as many of your people fully-trained as possible.  It’s not unlike the cross-training that members of the military special forces receive.

Military training

Military training equals leadership for CERT.

(In fact, some of the best people to get involved in a company or neighborhood CERT are former military or people with actual first responder experience.)

Wanted:  Self-Starters

But that special experience aside, the best leaders are going to be those people who have the vision, foresight and commitment to play a key role in forming a team. These are the natural leaders in your business or community who are self-starters.  You will find them heading up the team sports programs like Little League Baseball or Soccer programs.  In business they are the people who take on additional tasks or make suggestions to improve products, etc.

Remember, this is a “voluntary” program.

You don’t want to “assign” people to positions on the team.  That can open you up to possible legal problems and could jeopardize the spirit (if not the letter) of the Good Samaritan legal protection for individuals.

In building an Emergency Plan, you define the roles to be played and the suggested activities within them and give team members the opportunity to step forward and do what they are comfortable with.

Suggested Team Positions

As you build an Emergency Response Plan, here are some suggested team positions and qualifications:

1. Incident Commander – Most qualified volunteer with additional training in the Incident Command System (ICS) and the National Incident Management System (NIMS).  You ideally want to have at least 3 or 4 members of your team qualified to fill this position.

 2. Search & Rescue Team Leader – CERT qualified plus previous first responder experience or training if possible.

3. Triage & First Aid Team Leader – CERT qualified plus training in Red Cross First Aid and related courses.  Retired or former nurses, teachers, military with medic training, etc. are also desirable if they are available to you.

4. Logistics Team Leader – Someone who keeps track of various tools and other assets that are available in the neighborhood . . . or, in the case of a business or enterprise, on location.  This could include fire suppression equipment, tools, generators, etc.

5. Division Leaders – Depending on the size of your neighborhood or business enterprise, you may want to divide your community into manageable sections with Division Leaders acting as Local Incident Commanders.

In the case of a closely laid out community, a Division might encompass 50 or 60 homes with 3 – 6 Block Captains, each reporting on 8 – 15 homes and their occupants.  In a business with multiple buildings or locations with a number of employees each, you might want a Division Leader for each building, etc.

6. Block Captains – People who have at least some CERT training who keep track of a block of homes, between perhaps 6 and 20 depending on the makeup of the community.  In the case of apartments, they could be “Floor Captains” or in a business, “Group Captains,”  The titles aren’t really important, but the function is.  These are the people who will check on the well-being of their neighbors or co-workers immediately following an emergency.

How you structure your organization really depends on a number of factors.  We strongly recommend completing the Basic CERT training and the two Incident Command Structure on-line trainings.  Also helpful are the four “Shelter Management” trainings offered by the American Red Cross.

By-Products of the Training

Two of the by-products of any of these training courses – especially the hands-on CERT training – are the confidence and peace of mind that participants gain.  Knowing what to do in an emergency and being disciplined in responding removes a lot of the fear of the unknown. It also creates an awareness and a willingness to act without delay, when  action is called for.

We have been fortunate to witness these positive by-products in our own community under potentially dangerous situations.