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Emergency Response Training Ensures Citizens Have the Skills to Care for Themselves and Others

Courses could make a life-or-death difference in the hours and days after a catastrophe when professionals can't assist

Santa Barbara City College staff members participate in a drill before graduating from the Community Emergency Response Team program. Click to view larger
Santa Barbara City College staff members participate in a drill before graduating from the Community Emergency Response Team program.  (Noozhawk file photo)

In most situations when emergencies occur and there are injuries, someone on the scene provides immediate assistance before professional help arrives, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Do you know the skills needed to care for yourself and others?

        |  Emergency Preparedness 2017  |  Complete Series Index  |

Safety Matters Certified Training and the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program have the answers.

“Everyone is responsible for keeping themselves safe and should have a basic knowledge about immediate care,” said Justin Haagen, Safety Matters Certified Training owner and instructor. “It’s not hard.”

Established in 2009, Safety Matters Certified Training offers courses on assessing the needs of someone injured.

With its basic life support training, citizens will learn how to recognize an emergency, shock management, personal safety, respond to foreign-body airway obstruction and cardiovascular emergencies, special resuscitation situations, as well as adult and pediatric CPR.

“We need to be observant, aware, and we can’t wait for someone else to step up,” Haagen said. “The basic knowledge of immediate care can be the difference between life and death.”

Training takes a few hours, and it can help care for a victim’s needs while waiting for medical professionals to arrive on the scene.

“Most people will be startled and fearful, but usually they will recall their training and be able to act,” Haagen said.

If a natural disaster strikes, medical responders are working to meet the demand for services and it could take days for post-disaster support and emergency response.

“You have to be prepared to take care of yourself and others,” Haagen said.

Upon completion of the class, individuals will receive an American Heart Association certification card, which is accepted by all hospitals, clinics, ambulance, fire and other medical professions.

Basic life support classroom training is $55, and an online course and skills test is $70.

Those interested must visit the training facility at 4141 State St., Suite E5, for a hands-on skill test to receive a certification card.

Click here for a schedule of Safety Matters Certified Training class dates and times.

Each year, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and the Santa Barbara Fire Department Office of Emergency Services hold several CERT classes.

The classes provide basic training in disaster preparedness and include disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations.

The purpose of the training is to provide citizens with the skills required to care for themselves and others in the aftermath of a disaster, said Yolanda McGlinchey, the City of Santa Barbara’s emergency services manager.

“The knowledge, not the certification, will assist you in any type of incident to care for yourself and your family,” she said. “The best thing to know is that is it’s not if but when the next disaster hits. Now is the time to be ready for any type of emergency.”

The next class should be at the end of March or beginning of April, McGlinchey said.

The $37 class includes a backpack, helmet and vest.

“People need to have a plan, have a kit and know how to communicate with each other,” McGlinchey said.

The American Red Cross of California-Pacific Coast Chapter also offers regular courses in first aid, CPR and AED.

Training is also available in Goleta.

The Goleta Prepare Now program offers basic response skill training and emergency preparedness programs.

Click here to learn about opportunities for Goleta’s emergency preparedness classes.

        |  Emergency Preparedness 2017  |  Complete Series Index  |

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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