When Seconds Count — Emergency Preparedness Videos


Do you know what to do in each of these situations?

Last Wednesday was the regular meeting for our local Neighborhood Emergency Response Team volunteers. Lately members have asked for “more training” on a variety of threats – threats we don’t normally spend much time on here in Southern California.

So we decided to devote this meeting to some dangers that most people in the room had heard of but probably never faced.

In fact, before the program, we took a poll of the people in the room. Not one person had ever encountered killer bees. No one had landed in a canal or river in their car, although two of them had temporarily lost control of a car in flooding water on city streets. And only three people had ever actually used a fire extinguisher to put out a fire.

Emergency Preparedness VideosKeeping CERT Training Interesting With a “Movie Night”

The meeting went well! We had searched carefully on YouTube for short (4-5 minute) videos. Before showing each one, we prompted people to watch for a particular scene or to note the answer to a pertinent question.

Here are three of the videos we used for the program, along with the questions for each.

“Where is the nearest fire extinguisher to the room we are in right now?” “ Where’s the next nearest one?” “ Do you know if they have been recently checked?”  (We were in a large meeting room that had an extinguisher on the back wall. Only one person had already noted its location! No one knew where any other extinguisher was located.)

This particular video is aimed at employees in a work setting but applies just as well to residents of a home.

“Where are killer bees in the U.S.?” “Are there any where we live?” (I was prepared for this question and had downloaded an interactive graph that shows how bees have spread in the U.S. since 1990. Here it is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Killerbees_ani.gif )

“Are we located in an area likely to flood?” (Consider the Red River’s recent flooding in Louisiana!) “What about electric car windows?” “How do you break a window?” (One of our volunteers had a spring-loaded window breaker on his key chain, just like the one demonstrated in the video. You can see one here and get it in time for your own upcoming meeting: resqme The Original Keychain Car Escape Tool, Made in USA (Black) (Use it as a door prize — always popular! Or get several and share the fun.)

CERT As Entertainment?

One of the LinkedIn groups that I follow has been debating the necessity of sticking to CERT training as laid out by FEMA. Obviously, a meeting such as the one described here is not covered in the official training materials.

However, in my experience, there’s a difference between training for dedicated CERT graduates and awareness training for ordinary citizens.

Of course, those of us who are CERT graduates attend the follow-up trainings put on by our city. (Next week it’s a Light Search and Rescue refresher.)

But as a Neighborhood Emergency Response leader I am committed to my entire community. So we do what we can to attract all people and engage them in emergency preparedness activities.

Our Movie Night was one of those efforts.

Would something like this work for YOUR group? Try it, and let me know!

Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

P.S. If you haven’t yet heard, I pulled together over two dozen different meeting planning ideas for use by community leaders. You can get more info and order a copy at https://emergencyplanguide.org/CERT-meeting-ideas/



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