By Riya Chinni
In the case of an emergency or disaster, many otherwise unprepared Hamilton County citizens can know exactly how to react in the few minutes before first responders arrive at the scene thanks to Community Emergency Response Team training.
The fall session of training will consist of 2 1/2-hour sessions once a week starting Sept. 11, for a total of 21 hours of class time. Most classes are held at the Hamilton County Training Center, 7925 E 160th St. in Noblesville.
Trainees will learn skills such as basic first aid, search and rescue, disaster psychology and how to use a fire extinguisher, among other skills, according to program director Jon Baldwin.
“If there was a disaster in their neighborhood, they could respond as a group of trained volunteers who have some skills and can help until the first responders arrive,” Baldwin said.
Hamilton County offers CERT training to residents above the age of 18 upon completion of a short application, which can be found on the county’s website. The course is free and taught in a classroom setting by volunteers who have undergone additional training to teach other residents.
“We’re not EMTs or paramedics. It’s basic first aid, but we are taught the same way the first responders are,” Baldwin said. “If you come upon an auto accident and somebody is bleeding badly, how do you stop that, how do you control the bleeding? We’re taught the same thing like (the first responders).”
Baldwin first got involved through hearing about the course during his time with the Indiana Guard Reserve. He was one of the first course graduates, completing it in 2008.
“(I enjoy) the opportunity (the program provides) to help people for a ‘when’, not ‘if’ emergency,” Baldwin said.
For more, visit hamiltoncounty.in.gov/1279/CERT.