Last revision: May 1, 2016
Let me start this post by defining some abbreviations that you need to understand before reading my main post.
CERT stands for Community Emergence Response Team. These are city volunteers that are trained to go out into their neighborhood after a disaster and administer aid. These individuals may very well be the first individuals that give aid. City governments offer free classes and typically follow this up with simple protection gear for these volunteers to use.
RACES stands for Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service. It is a group of amateur radio operators that volunteer their time and equipment to offer emergency communications to some U.S. government agency whether that is city, fire or police. Some cities put one RACES member into a geographical area to serve as long distance communications member because in large cities CERT FRS radios might not make good communications to city government due to distance. RACES typically have the capability for a city to send messages very long distances. Their role is typically to maintain constant communications with CERT groups, city, the county and even state agencies.
FRS stands for Family Radio Service. These radios do not require a special license so CERT members can easily use these radios. The radio manufacturers advertise these radios will communicate up to 30 miles. Do not believe it. Two miles is average. This is a short distance radio system. Some cities use this type of radio communications for CERT individuals and teams. These radios are cheap and very easy to use.
Back to my story:
I had taken CERT class years ago and cribbing, extracting people from collapsed buildings, was probably, the only skill I still remembered. Our city RACES group members were encouraged to sigh up for the CERT class again if we had not taken it for a long time to refresh our memories. I decided to take the class again. When we got to the section covering triage, I fully expected that I would forget what I had learned. I asked a friend of mine who had taken CERT about a year ago and asked him if he could remember the triage procedures. He could not. I rather quickly came up with a solution. I remembered seeing football quarterbacks having a wrist band that showed vital play information on their arm. I looked for this device and quickly found them for sale. The one web site I read reviews about this device revealed that the military uses these. There are a number of these wrist devices. I decided upon the SteelLocker Sports X200 Adult Play book Wristband. It cost me $7.99. It does not use Velcro to adjust to your size arm but a soft elastic sock, about 6 and 1/2 inches long, which holds a 5 and 5/8 by 3 and 1/2 inch plastic sewn in window. If you have a thick arm, I suggest that you look at Velcro adjusted wristbands. The top page part of this wrist arm band window lifts up so you can use both sides of the top portion and then view the bottom. You thus have 3 windows. You slip in your paper notes into slits along one side. I measured and cut my notes to 2 and 1/2 tall by 4 and 1/2 inches wide.
Following are my list of note pages:
These pages were updated May 1, 2016 after I had Captain Alan Wilkes from OCFA, who also teaches CERT, looked over two of my pages. He reviewed only Triage 1 and 2 pages only. He did not like my long winded presentation and said “stay out of the weeds”. I took his suggestion and added a single page called RPM (see below). I still think there is a need for TRIAGE page 1 and 2 because most of us hardly ever have to use these skills. People who have to TRIAGE more frequently probably only need the RPM page.
Top page: Emergency radio frequencies: RACES, Red Cross, Hospital Group, FRS frequencies. Each is fully labeled as to ID, repeater shift and PL tone.
Optional radio template:
Page 1: Triage procedures in .pdf form. I created these documents using Pages. Font size is 7pt. I confined the text into a 2 and 1/2 inch high by 4 and 1/2 inch wide space so it would slide into my X200 Coaches Writstband (adult size):
Page 2: is a continuation of the triage procedures.
Alternate top page:
Here is a single page that show, in a very brief form, how to perform the whole TRIAGE process. This single page is intended to replace page 1 and 2. Another idea is to put the RPM page as the top arm band page. You could then open the arm band to see TRIAGE PAGE 1 and TRIAGE PAGE 2 for more detail.
I am still going over these documents to ensure they are accurate for content and clear in how to use the directions. If anyone sees a mistake or improve the wording, let me know.
The reason I went to all this trouble is that triage is what scares me the most. The triage process we are making life and death decisions and I do not want to screw that up. I want those procedure to be ready after I forgot them. I put this arm band into my CERT backpack.
Another, being prepared, solution was suggested by Mrs. Anna Lee Cave, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for the City of Brea, California. She sent me this link: http://quickseries.com/index.php?prodcode=01-0595-000-01 and recommended the Field Operations Guide.
I hope you find this helpful.