Light Search and Rescue, Part 2 – Hands On! Life-saving learning, a Berkeley first, injured pumpkins, a demonic clown, and many giant spiders. Oh My!

Hands On Light Search and Rescue Class. Life-saving learning, demonic clowns and lots of spiders!



Sunday, October 29th saw the second part of Halcyon Neighborhood Association’s Community Emergency Response Team’s Light Search and Rescue class. Sunday’s class marked the conclusion of the two-part LSAR series, and students who completed both units received full City of Berkeley credit for their work. This class marked the first time the city of Berkeley has granted CERT credit for LSAR taught outside their own facilities. And of course, being a few days before Halloween, some seasonal spookiness found its way into the serious business of learning lifesaving.

The class was broken down into three major sections plus some time in the classroom for a pre-exercise briefing/review of PART ONE and then a post-exercise debrief and teacher evaluations. The three sections were Search, Cribbing, and Carries.

Huge thanks to our generous and excellent instructors Bill Springer, Shawn Connors, and Carrie Dovzak along with Khin Chin from the Berkley Fire Department’s Office of Emergency Services, who authorized, supervised, and acted as safety officer for the exercises.


Search party Excellent

Taught by Berkeley CERT instructor Carrie Dovzak, Search skills included

  • Verifying the structure was safe to enter
  • Working as a team to safely and thoroughly search an area
  • Identifying victims and assessing their level of need
  • Reporting team status by radio to an incident command post, which in turn is responsible for a standardized series of notes posted near the building entrance to help subsequent rescue teams

Instructor Dovak starts with a review of utility shut-off

Next Up – Radio Procedure

Then Command Post Operations – The next team through has gotta know what’s already happened and that your team made it out safely!

Search party Excellent
Search technique: One hand on your buddy, one hand on the wall, and somehow a hand for your radio and flashlight
Finding a victin
Search team checks behind obstruction for potential victim


Pumpkin-uh-victim found! It’s up to the search team to evaluate level of injury and tag to indicate priority


Cribbing, taught by lead instructor Bill Springer, sometimes referred to as Bill the Elder, is the fine art of using lever and fulcrum to lift debris off a victim, in our Halloween case a demonic clown, and then placing blocking material (cribbing) under that debris until the demonic clown (or other victims!) can be safely removed.

10-29-17 LSAR @ 2137 Prince -1

We have a victim. A demonic clown victim, but a victim!

Katrina checks for pulse fun

Victim is trapped by debris! Victim has a pulse! Repeat – Victim Is Viable!!!!

HNA CERT – Let’s Get To It!


Step One: Use lever (blue bar on far left of photo) and fulcrum (wood block under bar) to lift debris and carefully insert cribbing so that debris stays elevated.


Inserting Cribing IMGP7018IMGP7030r

Step Two: Rinse and repeat Step One, adding more cribbing to further raise the debris while making sure there is enough room under debris for the lever to move, until enough space is created that demonic clown, or other victims, can be safely evacuated. Two important notes: Team members inserting cribbing are required to squat, not kneel, so they can move quickly if the load shifts, and cribbing must always be handled from the side so a load shift won’t result in missing fingers if debris comes crashing down.

More cribbing, more lever

Success! Space created, victim can be evacuated!

BTE Pontificates IMGP6862

BTE pontificates while our demonic clown (not pictured) expresses deepest thanks for the save.


Taught by Berkeley CERT Instructor Shawn Connors, a great introduction to moving incapacitated victims.

Fiver Person Blanket Carry

The five-person blanket carry. This can also be done with seven rescuers. Rescuer at the head is responsible for stabilizing head and neck and leading the team while rescuers at sides provide lift.

A Two-Person Carry

Chair Carry

A Chair-Carry

Class Room & Wrap-Up

Khin 10-29-17 LSAR @ 2137 Prince -10

HNA CERT Co-Coordinator Bill Swartz discusses the HNA CERT mission while Mr. Klondike inspects a participant

Khin 10-29-17 LSAR @ 2137 Prince -9

Khin Chin from Berkley Fire Department’s Office of Emergency Services looks on,        accompanied by instructor Carrie Dovzac

Bill and Shwan 10-29-17 LSAR @ 2137 Prince -11

Instructors Shawn Connors and Bill Springer relax. Note Search and Rescue practice pumpkin victims and radios on table.



Notice on Door

Thanks to our instructors, the Berkeley Fire Department, and HNA CERT Membership!

9/28 HNA CERT Light Search & Rescue Class (Part One) Sells Out Oracle Arena!!! Available Now on Pay Per View for $79.99! (Well, almost. It was a great turnout!)

9/28 HNA CERT Light Search & Rescue Class Part One, Presentation and Pictures


Extra! Extra!! Read All About It!!!!! The 9/28 Halcyon Neighborhood Association Community Emergency Response Team  Light Search And Rescue Class Part One proved so popular we moved to, and sold out, the entire Oracle Arena! And are now offering it live on Pay Per View at $79.99 for Halcyon residents, $109.99 for non-Halcyon residents.

OK, the above isn’t exactly true, strictly speaking. If you want to get all technical and stuff. But Bill Springer led an absolutely blow-out Light Search and Rescue Part One class with a standing room only crowd of 30+ people, many of them new to HNA CERT.

Date and time for Part Two of the class, the practical section where we do an actual simulated rescue in an empty Prince Street home,  will be announced shortly.

Notes for the class are here HNA CERT 9-29-17 LSAR Part One.


A few of the participants post class, and of course Bill The Elder in green


Search and rescue

Search and Rescue Class Part 1 on 9/28 6:30PM – We Need You, You Need This!

Search and Rescue Class Part 1 on 9/28/17 6:30PM

Full-on, two-part, search and rescue class coming to HNA CERT!!
Over the last few weeks, we’ve all seen in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and elsewhere the devastation a natural disaster can bring. The Bay Area is not immune, and search and rescue, if done safely in an organized manner,  together with basic first aid, is one important thing you can do to save lives after a disaster. This class will give you the basic skills, and the life you say may be a neighbor or a loved one.
Berkeley CERT instructor Bill Springer has generously agreed to lead this two-part light search and rescue class.
  • Part 1: A classroom session from 6:30-8:00PM on Thursday, September 28th. Some food will be provided
  • Part 2: A  simulated search and rescue event held in an unoccupied Halcyon neighborhood home at the end of October (date TBD).
A big turnout not only gets more people in our community with the skills, it makes it much easier for our wonderful instructors like Bill Springer, Shawn, and Carrie (who you may recall from Stop The Bleed!) to continue to support us. If there was a time to come and bring your friends, it’s now.
The class will be held at 2135 Prince Street.
RSVP not required but much appreciated, and of course questions always welcome. HNACERT@GMAIL.COM
See you all next Thursday, 9/28! 
Search and rescue

Our Annual Disaster Preparedness Event

Halcyon Neighborhood Association Disaster Preparedness event 8-26-17 Pictures and Handouts

Thanks to everyone who came out, and especially thanks to the great CERT volunteers who so generously gave of their time and knowledge.

Event logo

For more pictures and handouts, see the Disaster? Be Ready! A Great Event report by Bill Swartz.

CERT Event Photos-29

A huge shout-out to our friends at CBCB for their generous donation of the trauma kits and gas shut-off wrenches.