On Saturday, the City of Santa Barbara Fire Department in collaboration with the Aware & Prepare Initiative and the Fire Service Training Institute graduated their first synchronized English and Spanish CERT (Community Emergency Response Training) class.
This CERT training was conducted simultaneously in both English and Spanish. Although instruction was done separately, both in English and Spanish, the hands-on portions of the classes were done together.
Courses included disaster preparedness, fire suppression, medical operations, light search and rescue, team organization, disaster psychology and terrorism.
The CERT course ends with an earthquake drill, where both classes came together to work the common goal of “providing the greatest good for greatest number.” The team worked together overcoming both language and cultural barriers to achieve their goal of rescuing individuals.
This was a pilot program that graduated 12 CERT participants, seven English and five Spanish speakers.
The drill was conducted at Santa Barbara Fire Station 1, with fire crews on hand to assist the CERT team. Due to the diligence of all the instructors the program was a huge success with lots of lessons learned.
For more information, call the Fire Department’s Office of Emergency Services at 805.564.5711.
— Yolanda McGlinchey is the emergency services manager for the City of Santa Barbara.