CERT Courses (Community Emergency Response Training) are available through county Gov organizations, usually an office of emergency preparedness, homeland security or emergency management in your community. These courses consist of multiple topics and sessions over a period of several weeks, are well-worth the time and effort and will certify you to volunteer in your area in event of an emergency. A hard-hat, a vest and ID are usually given on completion of the course. In addition, your local office will offer mini-courses on other pertinent topics such as preparing and maintaining a Weather Emergency Kit for your family.
Now is the time to prepare for power outages and winter storms by gathering necessary supplies in a container for your home and car. Many Gov websites (DHS, FEMA, etc.) offer lists of items to include in home and car kits. Avoid the use of candles if possible by stocking up on small, inexpensive LED lanterns and extra batteries for the home and car kits.
Do you have your BOP?
Those of you with military or LE backgrounds will recognize the term as shorthand for a Bug-Out Pack, a bag of critical or essential items that allows you to “grab and go” when the situation demands. Readers living in areas subject to rapid fires or sudden severe weather probably already realize the necessity of a BOP. Please remember that cell phone outages will be common in an emergency due to system overloading and infrastructure damage, so please plan for alternate means of communication. Inexpensive FRS and GMRS radios with extra batteries can keep family members or neighbors in touch during an emergency. Plan now — be safe later.