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.
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!
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.
We have a victim. A demonic clown victim, but a victim!
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.
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.
Success! Space created, victim can be evacuated!
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.
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
Class Room & Wrap-Up
HNA CERT Co-Coordinator Bill Swartz discusses the HNA CERT mission while Mr. Klondike inspects a participant
Khin Chin from Berkley Fire Department’s Office of Emergency Services looks on, accompanied by instructor Carrie Dovzac
Instructors Shawn Connors and Bill Springer relax. Note Search and Rescue practice pumpkin victims and radios on table.
Thanks to our instructors, the Berkeley Fire Department, and HNA CERT Membership!