Thursday, March 13, 2014

When Was the Last Time You Were in a CERT Exercise? Join Us March 22nd!

Calling all Fairfax County CERTs! On Saturday, March 22nd, our current crop of CERT students will have their final graduation exercise at the training grounds of the lovely former Lorton Juvenile Detention Facility.

As a trained CERT, there are three ways you can participate. To get more details and to claim your spot, please email Kevin at

1. Be a Player! Did you know CERTs from previous classes can be rescuers in the graduation exercises? (I didn't, until this week.) If it's been a while since you last strapped on your CERT gear, take this chance to fulfill your training requirement and practice your triage, search and rescue, disaster medical skills, and more in a realistic, simulated disaster environment.

CERT students from class 73 transport a patient during their graduation exercise.
Not only do you get to work on your skills, but your participation also gives the student CERTs practice working with unfamiliar people.

To be a rescuer, you'll need your CERT gear, plus long pants and closed-toe shoes. Also, bringing a victim actor is appreciated.

2. Help Run the Exercise: A smooth-running exercise needs a lot of help behind the scenes.

CERT controllers and support staff get briefed before a final exercise.
Roles for CERTs include:
  • Moulage: If you've had moulage training, you can help give the victim actors the wound makeup that adds to the realism of the drill. Moulage personnel arrive need to arrive early, and can either check out after the makeup is done, or help in other ways (as player, helper, or even as a victim.)
  • Division Controllers: During the exercise, division controllers help mark off "no-go" areas, place victim actors, keep headcounts, and watch CERT students and actors during the exercise to make sure that they maintain safety all times.
  • Logistics: Logistics personnel support the exercise controller to do everything else: deliver supplies, help set up, and more. (There may be other roles, too, like helping with evaluations.)
3. Be a Victim Actor: As always, CERTs, family members, friends, minors with parental permission, those looking for community service credits, and all others are welcome to participate as victims.

Victim actors will need to arrive at the Lorton site around 7AM; wear clothes you don't mind messing up, and make sure you have long pants and closed-toe shoes. You'll get made up with moulage (wound makeup), and given symptoms to act out:

Examples of different types of moulage used by victim actors in an exercise.
Afterwards, lunch will be served, and victim actors will be released by about 1:30pm.

Whether you participate as rescuer, helper, or actor, being part of a CERT exercise is a lot of fun. For more info and to reserve your spot as a rescuer, helper, or victim actor, email Kevin at

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