Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

A little long, but worth the read...

The new captain jumped from the cockpit, fully dressed, and sprinted through the water. A former lifeguard, he kept his eyes on his victim as he headed straight for the owners who were swimming between their anchored sportfisher and the beach. “I think he thinks you’re drowning,” the husband said to his wife. They had been splashing each other and she had screamed but now they were just standing, neck-deep on the sand bar. “We’re fine, what is he doing?” she asked, a little annoyed. “We’re fine!” the husband yelled, waving him off, but his captain kept swimming hard. ”Move!” he barked as he sprinted between the stunned owners. Directly behind them, not ten feet away, their nine-year-old daughter was drowning. Safely above the surface in the arms of the captain, she burst into tears, “Daddy!”
How did this captain know, from fifty feet away, what the father couldn’t recognize from just ten? Drowning is not the violent, splashing, call for help that most people expect. The captain was trained to recognize drowning by experts and years of experience. The father, on the other hand, had learned what drowning looks like by watching television. If you spend time on or near the water (hint: that’s all of us) then you should make sure that you and your crew knows what to look for whenever people enter the water. Until she cried a tearful, “Daddy,” she hadn’t made a sound. As a former Coast Guard rescue swimmer, I wasn’t surprised at all by this story. Drowning is almost always a deceptively quiet event. The waving, splashing, and yelling that dramatic conditioning (television) prepares us to look for, is rarely seen in real life.
The Instinctive Drowning Response – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult. In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC). Drowning does not look like drowning – Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene Magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this:
Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. Th e respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.
This doesn’t mean that a person that is yelling for help and thrashing isn’t in real trouble – they are experience aquatic distress. Not always present before the instinctive drowning response, aquatic distress doesn’t last long – but unlike true drowning, these victims can still assist in there own rescue. They can grab lifelines, throw rings, etc.

Look for these other signs of drowning when persons are n the water:
Head low in the water, mouth at water level
Head tilted back with mouth open
Eyes glassy and empty, unable to focus
Eyes closed
Hair over forehead or eyes
Not using legs – Vertical
Hyperventilating or gasping
Trying to swim in a particular direction but not making headway
Trying to roll over on the back
Ladder climb, rarely out of the water.

So if a crew member falls overboard and every looks O.K. – don’t be too sure. Sometimes the most common indication that someone is drowning is that they don’t look like they’re drowning. They may just look like they are treading water and looking up at the deck. One way to be sure? Ask them: “Are you alright?” If they can answer at all – they probably are. If they return a blank stare – you may have less than 30 seconds to get to them. And parents: children playing in the water make noise. When they get quiet, you get to them and find out why.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fairfax County Virtual Fairfax 3-D map application released

The Fairfax County GIS Office in the Department of Information Technology (DIT) has released a new Internet map application called Virtual Fairfax. This new map application provides a twist to viewing county data as you can explore portions of the county from a 3-D perspective. In addition to viewing the map data and imagery, you can also easily link to other Fairfax County data like detailed neighborhood reports in My Neighborhood. Tax Administration assessment information from the real estate tax assessment information site, and land development information in LSDNet.

Currently the full 3-D imagery is only available to certain areas of the county - Tysons Cornet Mall area, Reston Town Center area, Massey-Public Safety Complex, etc. The 3-D perspective is especially impressive when viewing areas with high-rise buildings. Be sure to take a look at the support page to get started to make full use of the special features such as fly, pan, tilt,zoom, etc. Obviously, this application will run better on newer PCs with more memory and stranger video cards.

Suggestions or comments regarding this application should be directed to the GIS Office in the County's DIT at DITVirtual-fairfax@fairfaxcounty.gov

Virtual Fairfax- http;//www.fairfaxcounty.gov/gis/virtualfairfax/

Explore and enjoy!
Thanks Jeffrey

Friday, June 18, 2010

Guns n' Hoses Chili Cookoff in Reston VA, June 19th

GUNS n' HOSES CHILI COOK-OFF at Taste of Reston!

It’s the Police Department versus the Fire Department – the ultimate battle of the heroes is coming to Taste of Reston with brute force. The Guns n’ Hoses Chili Cook-off is sure to get the crowd screaming as your vote determines the “People’s Choice” award and the judges determine the winner of the “Overall Best Chili” award. Don’t miss a beat and make your way down to Library Street on Saturday, June 19 from Noon-4:30pm.

For more information: www.restonchamber.org/Home/TasteofReston2010/COOKOFF/tabid/6569/Default.aspx#TASTE

From what I understand, there are three teams from the local police participating as well as two teams from the local Fire & Rescue. Come out and support your favorite team!


Monday, June 7, 2010

AAR - CERT Outreach – MRC’s Get Ready Fairfax – Springfield Mall, June 5

This was a Medical Reserve Corps and Fairfax County Health Department event – which we were asked to participate in as another Fairfax County sponsored community service.

CERT Outreach events are some of the greatest opportunities we have to make the public aware of the Fairfax County CERT program. Remember the axiom the “greatest good for the greatest number” also applies when it comes to our public relations. Talking about CERT to the public is not for everyone, but showing what CERT is and what it can do for the community is just as important as being a “victim” and supporting other operational roles. Remember that most of those that have taken the CERT training were introduced to the program through Outreach events.

I would like to start an e-mail distribution list that can reach those that don’t often read the Blog or want a more formal information and situational awareness mechanism. Please contact me directly by e-mail (jsobecke@verizon.net or fxcertplanner@verizon.net) if you would like to be made aware of future CERT Outreach opportunities.(Put "CERT Contact List" as the subject line).

AAR - Fair Oaks Station 21 Ambulance Chase, May 29

Second annual opportunity to support an operational role for CERT –course setup and runner safety – at the request of the Fair Oaks Volunteer Fire Department.
The “slime green” CERT vests were quite appropriate for the important SAFETY role we performed. However we could have used more than 3 CERT members to support this event, that lasted less than 3 hours.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Herndon Festival

The festival ran for 4 days and CERT members assisted Fairfax County Fire and Rescue volunteers in the First Aid tent for 3 of those days.
Friday night was slow with only a few visits requiring attention for cuts and scrapes. Saturday had almost 50 people requiring attention from situations like scrapes, dehydration and overindulgences from food and/or rides. One person required a trip to the hospital. After the fireworks, there were approximately 7 lost children that were brought to the tent. Sunday brought the most excitement when the tent had to be evacuated during a severe thunderstorm. Even then, CERT assisted with the evacuation and reconnecting a lost child with a parent. Upon returning to the tent, one person was waiting there who needed assistance with a minor head wound due to the strong winds. Also during the day, there were 2 calls that required the patients to be transported to a hospital.

Whew! What a satisfying and educational weekend! I can't wait to attend next year!

A special Thanks to Susy L. for helping out with this event!


On Saturday June 5, 2010 over 100 victim actors came out at 7am to brave the heat, bugs and dust to Lorton Juvenile Detention Center for a CERT exercise. This is the first time CERT did a drill like this outside the 'comfort' of the F & R Training Academy. As always, a lot of acting skills surfaced and some great role playing was observed. Special kudo's to the Boy Scouts who, as always, provided the refreshments and food for everyone. The Academy staff did a great job making sure everything we needed was there (can you say port-a-johns?). Thank you for the 53(!!!!) CERTs who participated. Without our Actors we could not have pulled this off. Thank you all!

Look for a complete picture album on the Fairfax County CERT Facebook page!.

Friday, June 4, 2010

FCC & FEMA announce workshop on 21st century emergency alerting

The Federal Communications Commission and FEMA will hold a workshop, “21st Century Emergency Alerting: Leveraging Multiple Technologies to Bring Alerts and Warnings to the Public,” June 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The workshop will address the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, including the Next Generation Emergency Alert System and the Commercial Mobile Alert System and provide federal partners an opportunity to gather feedback on outstanding issues related to these systems.

The workshop will be open to the public, but seating is limited. Register online by June 8 at http://www.fcc.gov/pshs/event-registration.html. The workshop will also be available in a free web cast www.fcc.gov/live.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Safety comes in all shapes and forms, not just when we're wearing our green helmet!

NFPA Study: Nearly All Structure Fire Deaths Happen in Home Fires

May 26, 2010
According to a new study, Home Structure Fires, from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home fires account for 92 percent of fire deaths that occur in structures. These fires cause an average of 2,840 civilian deaths each year.

“This study strongly underscores the need to aggressively work to reduce the number of home fires in this country in order to save lives from fire,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications.

During the period of 2003-2007, U.S. fire departments responded to approximately 380,000 home fires a year. These fires not only caused a large number of civilian deaths, they also caused an average of 13,160 reported civilian fire injuries and $6.4 billion in direct property damage.

From 2003-2007, smoking materials caused the largest number of fire deaths. Heating equipment was the second leading cause of home fires and home fire deaths.

The leading cause of home structure fires, civilian fire injuries, and unreported fires continues to be cooking equipment. Forty-one percent of home fires started in the kitchen area and caused 15 percent of the home fire deaths and 36 percent of the reported fire injuries.

Other key findings include:

· Reported home fires peaked around dinner hours of 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

· Only 20 percent of the reported home fires occurred between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., however 52 percent of home fire deaths resulted from fires reported during these hours.

· Thirty percent of reported home structure fires and 38 percent of home fire deaths occurred in the quarter including December, January, and February.

· Reported apartment fires were more likely to start in the kitchen than fires in one- and two-family homes.

· The two leading items first ignited in home fire deaths are upholstered furniture in 21 percent of home fire deaths, followed by mattress and bedding in 13 percent of the deaths.

Properly installed and maintained fire protection can prevent most fire deaths. Forty percent of fatal home fire injuries occurred in properties where no smoke alarms were present. Home fire sprinklers can also help, as the death rate per 1,000 reported home fires was 83 percent lower when wet pipe sprinkler systems were present, compared to reported home fires without automatic extinguishing equipment.

“Smoke alarms have been a key factor in significantly reducing the fire death problem since their widespread use beginning in the ‘70s. The move to require home fire sprinklers in new homes will be the next step forward in fire protection,” said Carli.

The NFPA offers these safety tips to prevent home structure fires from occurring:

· Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.

· Keep anything that can catch fire – oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains – away from your stovetop.

· Keep anything that can burn, such as paper, bedding, or furniture, at least three feet away from heating equipment and have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around stoves, open fires and space heaters.

· Remember to turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.

· If you smoke, smoke outside using a deep, sturdy ashtray. Remember to make sure butts and ashes are out, and dousing water or sand on them is the best way to do that.

· Keep matches and lighters up high, out of children’s sight and reach, preferably in a locked cabinet.

· Install smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Larger homes may require additional smoke alarms to provide a minimum level of protection.

· For best protection, install combination ionization/photoelectric smoke alarms or both photoelectric and ionization alarms. Photoelectric alarms are more responsive to smoldering flames and ionization alarms are more responsive to flaming fires.

· Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries are designed to remain effective for 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away. For smoke alarms with any other type of battery, replace batteries at least once a year. If the alarm chirps, replace only the battery.

· Test smoke alarms at least once a month by pushing the test button.

· Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use ten year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are ten years old or sooner if they do not respond properly when tested.

· Smoke alarm accessories are available for people who are hard of hearing. These accessories activate from the sound of traditional smoke alarms and produce a complex low frequency alarm signal, more effective at waking those with mild to severe hearing loss.

· Smoke alarms and accessories are available for people who are deaf. Smoke alarms and accessories that use high intensity strobe lights and accessories that produce a tactile (vibration) signal are now required for those with profound hearing loss.

· If you are building or remodeling your home, consider installing home fire sprinklers.

For more safety tips, please visit www.nfpa.org/safetytips.

NFPA has been a worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international nonprofit organization is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. Visit NFPA’s Web site at www.nfpa.org.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Herndon Festival Reminder

The Herndon Festival (herndonfestival.net) is scheduled from Thursday 3 June until Sunday 6 June. CERT members will be participating on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This event allows actual interaction with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. In the past, CERT members have assisted with an event incident, crowd control, patient monitoring and of course, lost child procedures. This is not a demonstration but live interaction with the public!

CERT members that are actors in the Lorton final exercise are welcome to attend. For newly graduated members, please consider participating on Sunday! All other CERT members are encouraged to participate!

For more information or to schedule a shift, please send an email to onyxarcher@yahoo.com. and place "Herndon Festival" in the Subject line.
Thank you!

Fairfax County CERT Twitter Account

If you are a user of Twitter, you can follow the blog at http://twitter.com/fairfaxctycert plus get other preparedness tips and resources. Intrigued but not a Twitter user? You can see the latest tweets listed in the right column of the blog.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Waynewood Neighbors Gear Up for Emergencies

Waynewood Neighbors Gear Up for Emergencies. Eight new members receive their CERT certificates.
By Gale Curcio Friday, May 28, 2010
Published 5/31/2010 Mt Vernon Gazette

Bodies lying on the floor. People moaning in pain. Men and women wearing green vests and hard hats applying bandages and recording injuries. An explosion? An accident? No, it’s a group of men and women learning what to do in case there should be a disaster.
The most recent training for Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) was held in the meeting room at the Mount Vernon Government Center during the month of March and April. The evening training course consisted of two-hour classes on five consecutive Mondays.
The lead instructor is certified by the Fairfax County CERT Organization. Students learned about Disaster Preparedness, CERT Organization, Disaster Medical Operations, Light Search and Rescue Operations/hazards, Disaster Psychology, and Terrorism. Practical application drills enhanced the training.
Members for this class were recruited from the Waynewood subdivision. Prior to the class, Waynewood had nine CERT members; with addition of the spring class, there are now 17 CERT members in Waynewood. Classes such as this are being held throughout Fairfax County and will continue to be held.
Kent Siegel coordinates Neighborhood Watch, and was instrumental in gathering together the members for this training session. He recently sent out an email to the members, saying, “While the county’s emphasis is on training and periodic drills, it will be up to each community to get local CERT members organized. Otherwise we will be a bunch of loose ends with no ability to act forcefully as a unit when there is an emergency situation for which we were trained. “As we move forward, I will pass pertinent information on to you that I receive, including opportunities to participate in additional training and events in which you can participate for annual CERT re-certification. A good way to track this sort of information is on the CERT blog at http://fairfaxcountycert.blogspot.com.”
“I ATTENDED class last year,” said Mary Beth Powers. “Kent Siegel asked me join the ranks of the other ‘CERTS’ in the neighborhood, however, I had an ulterior motive in attending — my job. With all the events I plan, I am bound to have an emergency sooner or later; therefore, the course taught me how to handle many different types of emergencies and disasters. I would recommend it to everyone!”
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a system of training citizens to respond to large scale emergencies within their own neighborhood when the resources of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue system have been overwhelmed. These citizens are trained in the absence of a fire department response to mobilize and organize a rescue team for their community.
“It all starts with the people, if a disaster strikes, be prepared, know what to do and do it safely,” said Kevin Mullins, volunteer instructor. “Our training can give you special skill sets and help you cope with the effects of a disaster."
Training doesn’t involve any unusual physical requirements; and persons with health care, emergency service, construction and military experience are especially encouraged to sign on.
This is not a comprehensive medical or emergency course, but instead some practical instruction about what to do in case of an emergency. Some of it is common sense but forgotten in the panic of the emergency. For example, when going into a building that is dark and/or filled with smoke, the first inclination is to head right into the middle of the room. One student quickly learned that is not the correct way to approach the situation. Instead, you “hug” the perimeter of the wall, so that you can follow that same wall when you need to leave the building.
Students quickly learned three other things: The most important person is ‘Me’ (make sure that you are safe and uninjured before you start helping others); ‘Do the Greatest Good for the Greatest Number of People’ (attend to those that you can help within 60 seconds and move on to the next victim); and ‘duct tape’ is your best friend.
In fact, duct tape was used for just about everything, from taping up injuries to recording assessments of the injured (Green-walking wounded; Yellow-conscious, needs help; Red-not conscious, critical; and Black-dead).
STUDENTS LEARN to “Evaluate – Sort – Treat.” They know that they have to work quickly. Denise Hopp, one of the volunteer instructors, said, “I believe everyone can benefit from the knowledge taught in CERT. Whether you want to advance and continue to take other CERT classes or just want to obtain basic ‘self- help’ skills in disaster preparedness. CERT gives you a foundation to not take a victim mentality in the time of need and to be a valuable resource to yourself, your family and your community when it is most needed.
“It is fulfilling as an instructor to see students go from an ‘I have no idea what to do’ fear, to ‘what else can I do’ eagerness.” While the first class (CERT I) is pretty elementary, the next class (CERT II) goes into much more detail.
Tom Beattie took both classes and said, “Well, if you talk about CERT II it is much more hands-on. You practice pretty much everything that you read about in CERT I.”
In addition, CERT members have plenty of opportunities to work events, and participate in drills. One of these drills is scheduled for Saturday, June 5, at the Lorton Prison.
The explanation on the website states: “We are in need of people to play the role of ‘victims’ for this drill. As a victim you will be expected to play your role as realistically as possible. You will receive ‘make-up’ to show ‘wounds’ and will have fake blood placed on your clothes. As such, please dress for the elements (we have the drill rain or shine) as you will be waiting outside to be found, in clothes that you can get very dirty, stained, and possibly even torn. You must wear long pants and closed end shoes, due to the location, we cannot make exceptions to this rule. Some of you may also be called upon to assist the rescuers in performing their duties. You may participate in any way you feel comfortable.
“This is a very exciting opportunity to help your community. Live ‘victims’ are essential to providing high quality training, and you'll learn quite a bit too! We'll even throw in lunch afterwards.”For more information, visit http://fairfaxcountycert.blogspot.com or call 703-246-4683.

Gale Curcio is an independent writer and public relations consultant in Mount Vernon. Gale also attended this CERT training

Additional Information on the Lorton Exercise

From Steve Willey:

This information is intended for ALL PERSONS attending the drill – regardless of your role (Participants, Victims, Visitors etc,)

We are excited to present the CERT Final exercise at the Former Lorton Juvenile Detention Center (JDC) this Saturday at 7am. The early start is planned the a couple of reasons, first, we start early, we finish early and we are done before the heat of the day. The weather is looking seasonal, sun screen and bug repellant are a must. This site is used extensively for rescue training and has inherent hazards including, but not limited to sharp objects, broken glass, nails, insects, tripping hazards, etc.

Some additional must’s:

· ALL PERSONS coming on the site (regardless of your role) must wear shoes that completely enclose the foot – No sandals, Teva’s, Keen’s, High heels, Pumps etc. – Persons arriving without proper foot wear will be denied access to the site – No EXCEPTIONS

· ALL PERSONS coming on the site (regardless of your role) must wear long pants – No shorts or skirts – Persons arriving without proper attire will be denied access to the site!

· All cars park in the lot in front of the JDC. No POV’s will be allowed on the site.

· You may bring any resources you like, however they will need to be carried in and kept with you during the exercise.

· For those persons bringing victims, we would recommend some form of entertainment during the periods of waiting – a book, an iPod, a DS….

· Bring a water bottle, cup or some other water storage device. We will have drinking water available on site.

· Bring Sunscreen

· Bring Bug repellent

· Certificates will be handed out at the end of the exercise.

· For students who are looking for community service credit, documentation will be issued at the end of the exercise.


The big final exercise is less than one week away and it's in a new, exciting location ... Lorton Prison! Please contact Kevin at actors@fairfaxcountycert.org to sign up!

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a system of training citizens to respond to large scale emergencies within their own neighborhood when the resources of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue system have been overwhelmed. These citizens are trained in the absence of a fire department response to mobilize and organize a rescue team for their community.

We are in need of people to play the role of "victims" for this drill. As a victim you will be expected to play your role as realistically as possible. You will receive "make-up" to show "wounds" and will have fake blood placed on your clothes. As such, please dress for the elements (we have the drill rain or shine) as you will be waiting outside to be found, in clothes that you can get very dirty, stained, and possibly even torn. You must wear long pants and closed end shoes, due to the location, we can not make exceptions to this rule. Some of you may also be called upon to assist the rescuers in performing their duties. You may participate in any way you feel comfortable.

This is a very exciting opportunity to help your community. Live "victims" are essential to providing high quality training, and you'll learn quite a bit too! We'll even throw in lunch afterwards.

You need to arrive at the Lorton Prison Complex by 7:00 am---exact location will be emailed to those who register. The drill should be completed by NOON. We'll need you to participate for the entire time. However, if you need to leave early due to an emergency, just let a facilitator know so we can account for you. Due to limited parking, it is requested that you carpool as much as possible.
The schedule usually goes something like this:

7:00 am - Arrive and park. Check in. You'll be registered and your contact information taken. You'll be given a card with a set of "injuries" you are to act out. You'll start in the makeup process. While this doesn't take much time, there is a wait to get through. The lead instructor will give you a brief presentation on safety issues, what to expect, and what CERT is all about! This is a great time to sign up for a class!

8:30am – 8:45 am - You'll be escorted to the area that you'll be "trapped" or laying.

9:00pm - The Drill begins. The rescuers will search, sort the victims by severity, extricate those that are trapped, and transport all victims to a treatment area.

NOON – Lunch, debrief, "thank-you" from the students and Victim checkout.
We prefer adults, but will gladly accept minors 15 years and older with signed parental consent with a full understanding of what's involved. At checkout, those that would like them can receive a certificate signifying 6.5 hours of community service provided. Please give your name, phone number and E-mail address to the person who provided you with this request.

REQUIREMENTS: You must wear long pants and closed end shoes---no exceptions here! Also bring a water bottle for the exercise and a folding chair for lunch (put your name on your chair). Do not bring iPods, phones or any electrics that may get wet or damaged.

This training is a very comprehensive class providing "real world" hands-on skill training in the above areas. Unlike traditional classroom training or task-focused practicals, Fairfax County CERT training provides a full disaster simulation every class! Our students receive practice in fitting all of their skills together and honing them under the stress that only our realistic training scenarios can provide. Our unique 32-hour curriculum includes easy remember mnemonics and simple to use and implement processes that provide our graduates with superior tools, judgment, and skills to truly make a difference in a disaster. Our instructors are experts in the fields of emergency response, terrorism, building collapse, command and control and more. Our instructors have been around the world responding to large-scale disasters.
With the full support of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, our CERT classes are conducted at our large and modern Fire and Rescue Academy. Here our training props include buildings, high rises, apartments, collapsed structures, vehicles, live fires, hazardous materials and more.

At the end of this training is a "big" final exercise in which they will have to respond to a "disaster" (This is where you come in). This disaster will encompass approximately four square blocks of area with multiple hazards within. These citizens will have to locate, extricate, treat, and evacuate the victims found within this disaster zone.