Thursday, December 10, 2015

Fairfax County CERTs Appear on 'Good Morning Washington'

Last Friday morning, with the San Bernardino mass shooting terror attack still fresh on people's minds, Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department Volunteer Liaison Jeffrey Katz and Fairfax County CERT Deputy Lead Anita Van der Merwe did a live appearance on WJLA's Good Morning Washington to talk about the Community Emergency Response Team program, and how the free training can help members of the community prepare for all types of disasters and incidents.

Responding to questions from Good Morning Washington anchor Larry Smith, Jeff and Anita covered the origins of CERT and the disaster response skills that CERTs learn in the free training, including disaster triage, fire suppression, and disaster medicine -- basic "duct tape first aid" where people can treat life threatening injuries using simple tools like duct tape, rags, or a torn t-shirt.

WJLA anchor Larry Smith, with Jeffrey Katz and Anita Van der Merwe. (Photo courtesy of WJLA)

Anita also showed off her CERT gear, starting with the issued personal protective equipment (helmet, reflective vest, eye protection, and N95 mask), then her own customized gear... including several varieties of duct tape, which caused Mr. Smith to compare CERT training to "training people to be MacGyver in emergency situations."

Since CERT training does teach people to be aware, prepared, and adaptable in emergencies, this is very true -- especially since, as Jeffrey mentioned, CERTs must be able to create tools like stretchers, splints, and backboards, using only their ingenuity and the materials they have on hand.

Larry Smith, Jeffrey Katz, and Anita Van der Merwe. (Photo courtesy of WJLA)
Telling people about the value of preparedness and how CERT training can help people is one of the most important aspects of the CERT program, so great job Jeffrey and Anita!

Joe Loong is a Blog Editor and Social Media Specialist for Fairfax County CERT. If you're interested in contributing to the blog, email him at