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  • CERT/Police/first Responder co-operation

    This is going to be a toughy, so please play along for a moment.

    Scenario: A earthquake has struck your city and the damage is massive and covers a large area. All emergency services are overwhelmed and a call goes out thru the Emergency Co-ordinator to area agencies for assistance.

    Part of the call up includes C.E.R.T. volunteers. Part of CERT training is light Search and rescue, triage, and first aid. The CERT teams are fresh while you have been on scene for over two hours.

    While searching the rubble for survivors, a CERT team comes across you doing the same. The CERT team is unsure of the safety of the location you are both searching and decides to pull back and tells you to pull back as well. Do you listen to the CERT team or not?

    What if the CERT leader decided for whatever reason that you were hindering them in their work and ordered you to stay out of the way, would you?

    This came up in a recent exercise, where Law Enforcement was actually hindering our team in our search efforts because they were not following the training plan we had recieved and practiced. What we did was ignore the police in the end, but what we really wanted to do was to order them to shut up and let us do our job.

    Now mind you, we respect the Police and what they do, and we ran into a couple of situations where we really needed the police to help ( a combative person trapped in the rubble) and (an impaled person who required more lifting than we could provide without their help).

    So the question is just how much are you as an officer willing to work with an organization like CERT and are you willing to act in a subordinate role if required, or is your macho going to make you want to be the one giving orders?
    Though their numbers are many, as the grass upon the field, we will count them at the end of the day.

  • #2
    I was wondering this the other day.

    Unfortunately, to some, CERT may seem like a bit of a joke. Like average Joes getting to play hero. The police POSSIBLY dont have, or have a different, training plan than you guys. Either way you guys will have to work together. Not ignore anyone, not "order" anyone to shut up (that would just make things worse), but make a group plan and follow it together. What good is your bickering gonna do to those people trapped?

    Also, remember that policing is an official job, while CERT is a group of citizen volunteers with minimal training.
    "...and the taking of a life is murder. And the punishment for murder is.... well it varies from state to state and by race, but...." - Homer J Simpson.

    Police: "Stop and we'll shoot!"
    Dilbert: "Stop AND we'll shoot? If you're gonna shoot, why should we stop?"
    Police: "Well, it would be alot easier for us. The targets at the shooting range don't run."

    R.I.P. Momma Coleman. You may have left our world, but you have NOT left our hearts.

    Comment


    • #3
      CERT is there to help us and the Fire Department, not the other way around......

      If you were to tell most LEOs to leave, they will tell you in no uncertain terms to go pound sand......

      As Sharp posted, CERT is only a group of civilian volunteers with pretty much ZERO authority and minimal training.....actions such as you are describing would pretty much spell the end of any CERT program......and if they were to try and REALLY push it, arrest for interference of a peace officer in his official duties.
      The posts on this forum by this poster are of his personal opinion, and his personal opinion alone

      "Politicians are like diapers. They need to be changed often and for the same reason"

      "We fight not for glory; nor for wealth; nor honor, but only and alone we fight for freedom, which no good man surrenders but with his life"

      Comment


      • #4
        What LA Dep said. I like having our cert team around. But you have to realize. You have no Authority. It is a volunteer system. If you hinder LE or S&R missions you may be ordered to leave or you may be arrested if you ignore them.
        You may work a little differently than most teams but they are to augment normal government operations. Not oversee them.......
        Last edited by Monkeybomb; 08-23-2008, 12:50 PM.
        The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

        Comment


        • #5
          I have a bit of a different perspective on this scenario. With hundreds of hours of training in structural collapse rescue, shoring, stabilization, and extrication training, as well as having been a part of training our local CERT team, I would likely not take an order from a CERT member.
          Seriously, the only reason I wanted to be a cop was so I could post anywhere on this forum.

          Comment


          • #6
            CERT receives minimal training compared to fire and police. They are trained in "light" search and rescue. Fire dept. has a lot more training in search and rescue. My dept. also has members with substantial training in search and rescue work.

            In other words CERT is in no position to RUN a search and rescue operation or dictate to other agencies. In fact CERT is usually treated as an auxillary to local police or fire.

            If a CERT member happened to be assisting during a building collapse and he spotted something unsafe that maybe I missed of course I would listen, that's one of the reasons they are there. I could easily see this in the scenario you gave if I was dog tired and you were fresh. But I would not surrender my authority to you. To do so would cause liability and safety issues I will not assume. If you tried to usurp my authority you would probably find yourself cooling your heels in lock up.
            Today's Quote:

            "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
            Albert Einstein

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            • #7
              well, as I said...

              I don't know how much Search and Rescue the officers we were working with had, nor if they were intentionally trying to be distracting us as this was a competition, but they were violating all the basic precepts we were taught to follow in search and rescue.

              While I realize most fire fighters have far more extensive training than we recieve, I am not aware of how much training local police recieve. Maybe that would be a better jumping off point for this question.

              How much training in Search and rescue does your police department provide?
              Though their numbers are many, as the grass upon the field, we will count them at the end of the day.

              Comment


              • #8
                We teach the CERT classes, we run the S&R program in our area. We have one of the most active S&R teams in the United States. I am a former S&R member from another Mountain rescue team.

                It's easy to discount LEO's as not having any training but across the U.S. LEO's wear many different hats. Every LEO that I have met has at least had the basic first aid/cpr class. Some agencies require them to be an EMT/paramedics.

                One thing you have to consider is CERT is a basic program for volunteers. Its a good program. It does not rise to the level of your basic first responder such as any Fire/medical/Law Enforcement/search and rescue unit. CERT was designed so that if things got bad/get bad that their is a number of people that have a basic understanding of how things work to help the general population. It is not an elite group of superhumans that are out to save the human race

                The thing is CERT would be used at the needs of our agency or other agenicies that are in need within our area. They would not be any charge of any of these operations. They have no authority over any other citizen. They are usually a group of more civic minded individuals. That have taken some time out of their lives to prepare and learned how to help others in desperate times.
                The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here is the basic out line for C.E.R.T. training for those unfamiliar with the program. It's roughly 17.5 hours of training.........

                  The CERT training for community groups is usually delivered in 2 1/2 hour sessions, one evening a week over a 7 week period. The training consists of the following:
                  • Session I, DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Addresses hazards to which people are vulnerable in their community. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during, and after a disaster. As the session progresses, the instructor begins to explore an expanded response role for civilians in that they should begin to consider themselves disaster workers. Since they will want to help their family members and neighbors, this training can help them operate in a safe and appropriate manner. The CERT concept and organization are discussed as well as applicable laws governing volunteers in that jurisdiction.
                  • Session II, DISASTER FIRE SUPPRESSION: Briefly covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards, and fire suppression strategies. However, the thrust of this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, sizing up the situation, controlling utilities, and extinguishing a small fire.
                  • Session III, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS PART I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding, and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.
                  • Session IV, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS, PART II: Covers evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area, performing basic first aid, and practicing in a safe and sanitary manner.
                  • Session V, LIGHT SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques, and most important, rescuer safety.
                  • Session VI, DISASTER PSYCHOLOGY AND TEAM ORGANIZATION: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and worker. It addresses CERT organization and management principles and the need for documentation.
                  • Session VII, COURSE REVIEW AND DISASTER SIMULATION: Participants review their answers from a take home examination. Finally, they practice the skills that they have learned during the previous six sessions in disaster activity.
                  The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by kingsman View Post
                    This is going to be a toughy, so please play along for a moment.

                    Scenario: A earthquake has struck your city and the damage is massive and covers a large area. All emergency services are overwhelmed and a call goes out thru the Emergency Co-ordinator to area agencies for assistance.

                    Part of the call up includes C.E.R.T. volunteers. Part of CERT training is light Search and rescue, triage, and first aid. The CERT teams are fresh while you have been on scene for over two hours.

                    While searching the rubble for survivors, a CERT team comes across you doing the same. The CERT team is unsure of the safety of the location you are both searching and decides to pull back and tells you to pull back as well. Do you listen to the CERT team or not?

                    What if the CERT leader decided for whatever reason that you were hindering them in their work and ordered you to stay out of the way, would you?

                    This came up in a recent exercise, where Law Enforcement was actually hindering our team in our search efforts because they were not following the training plan we had recieved and practiced. What we did was ignore the police in the end, but what we really wanted to do was to order them to shut up and let us do our job.

                    Now mind you, we respect the Police and what they do, and we ran into a couple of situations where we really needed the police to help ( a combative person trapped in the rubble) and (an impaled person who required more lifting than we could provide without their help).

                    So the question is just how much are you as an officer willing to work with an organization like CERT and are you willing to act in a subordinate role if required, or is your macho going to make you want to be the one giving orders?

                    With CERT, YOU are there to ASSIST the professionals. Thanks for doing what you do, but when the real police and firefighters are on scene you should defer to them.

                    The officers and FF's may or may not have SAR training, but part of their job is to do things like that regardless of whether they're properly trained for it.

                    If I felt that the CERT "leader" knew what he/she was talking about in regards to the structural safety then I would listen because I'm not a fool. However, if the "leader" was simply saying, "Hey, I'm a volunteer and this isn't safe enough for me" then he has no grounds for being heard.

                    If a CERT team ever ordered any officer to do something in my presence I'd have some serious words for him including but not limited to get off of our scene. However, again I'm no fool, and I'm highly appreciative and respectful of the work of volunteers. I was a vol. FF for six years so I know how it goes.

                    I should reinforce that CERT is there to assist. If you're not summoned by any official, governmental entity and you're just there on your own recognizance and get in the way by making a scene and ordering officers to get out of the way then I could see you being charged with Obstructing Govermental Operations (5-54-102). This is when you "knowingly obstruct, impair, or hinder the performance of any governmental function."

                    Thanks for the volunteerism. Seriously. We're not there to give you orders. We're there for public safety - bottom line. It's what we risk our lives for everyday. It's not "macho" as you put it. We'd like your help, but don't get into any p---ing contests. CERT is factually subordinate to to the incident commander. Police, fire, and EMS will be subordinate to him/her also. No IC is going to put a uniform subordinate to CERT.
                    Last edited by ArkansasFan24; 08-23-2008, 05:30 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kingsman View Post
                      well, as I said...

                      I don't know how much Search and Rescue the officers we were working with had, nor if they were intentionally trying to be distracting us as this was a competition, but they were violating all the basic precepts we were taught to follow in search and rescue.

                      While I realize most fire fighters have far more extensive training than we recieve, I am not aware of how much training local police recieve. Maybe that would be a better jumping off point for this question.

                      How much training in Search and rescue does your police department provide?
                      It doesn't matter if it's SAR, medical, fire, directing traffic, or anything else. You're a volunteer. Thanks for that - sincerely. Most police officers get no SAR training. For our department wildland SAR Tech II is required. When I was a city police officer I'd never had any SAR training. Sadly, we're often forced into things we've received no training for. It's our job to lay it on the line like that. Honestly, and don't take this the wrong way, I don't care how much training you've had. If you're wanting to get into a leadership capacity then get on the payroll.

                      I shouldn't probably say this, but I've seen something similar to our county jailers around here. They're often (NOT ALL OF THEM) wanting to know how much police power they have outside the jail and wanting to use their badge. The answer for most of them is NONE. Regardless of training you're in the same position.
                      Last edited by ArkansasFan24; 08-23-2008, 05:37 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by kingsman View Post
                        well, as I said...

                        I don't know how much Search and Rescue the officers we were working with had, nor if they were intentionally trying to be distracting us as this was a competition, but they were violating all the basic precepts we were taught to follow in search and rescue.

                        While I realize most fire fighters have far more extensive training than we recieve, I am not aware of how much training local police recieve. Maybe that would be a better jumping off point for this question.
                        You are correct, I am a fireman and not a cop so perhaps you wouldn't question me. But I will be a cop soon enough, and I'm not going to be carrying around a sign saying I used to be a fireman with lots of experience doing this. My point being, you have no idea what kind of background that cop has.

                        There are many things I would be comfortable doing that were taught and should be a definite no-no for a CERT member. That beiing said, I'm curious as to what principals were violated in your presence that led to this thread.

                        I will give you one bit of support, during OPOTA we did absolutely zero training in building collapse/USAR, and I will agree that the average beat cop (at least in this area) probably wouldn't no the difference between a raker, a t-shore, or a hole in the ground. I still don't feel this gives you authority over them. That's my humble opinion, please don't assume I am demeaning the CERT by saying so.
                        Last edited by FiremanMike; 08-24-2008, 07:49 AM.
                        Seriously, the only reason I wanted to be a cop was so I could post anywhere on this forum.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The officers did not survey the location, did not spot downed wires, and did not maintain contact with us or each other. The building was filled with smoke, so we began by entereing with a right hand search, they just fanned out. Also, we are taught to first call out to those who might be mobile to come out to our voices. they just walked in and started yelling "we got a victim over here".

                          We could not see them, we didn't know where they were, so we continued our right hand search till we got to where they were. we found three other victims before we got to their victims. They went in with no equipment, no first aid gear.

                          They didn't do any triage of the victims, nor any first aid.

                          My understanding from talking to a number of police officers and ex-officers is that they don't do that at taffic accidents but rather wait for medics, so maybe this just carried over into the scenario.
                          Though their numbers are many, as the grass upon the field, we will count them at the end of the day.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Most cops dont do first aid. I do. I have all the medical stuff, defibrillator, oxygen, etc. However, most are trained to take care of the overall scene and not individuals. Even if someone is hurt there are many other things that have to be dealt with rather than focusing on one person.

                            How do you know the cops didn't see downed lines? I've had to work nearby them before on several occasions. It's not fun, but the job isn't always safe.

                            The yelling to people to come to the sound of your voice is trivial. I probably wouldn't do that either. I mean why waste the time.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Take orders from a CERT team volunteer? Bwahahahaha!
                              Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                              I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

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