CERT Notes: Week 2

Tonight was my second of six weekly training classes for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).  This week, we studied fire safety.  As part of the class, we all went outside and practiced putting out a fire.

Highlights from the lecture:

  • Most of us know what room most fires start in the home start in; the kitchen.  What room is number two?  The laundry room.
  • A “large fire” is anything larger in size than a bathroom/bedroom trash can.
  • Once a smoke detector goes off, you have about 30-seconds to get out of the building safely.  Yes, you read that right, 30-seconds to get out of the building.
  • In California and other places, a Natural Gas Auto Shutoff Valve is required for new construction.  The instructor recommended them for everywhere.  What these shutoff valves do is during an earthquake shakes the natural gas meter, this device will automatically turn off the gas, thus helping to prevent a fire.
    • On hazard materials, you may have seen the multicolored diamond like the one on the right.   This is called National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 704 Diamond.Each of the quadrants describes a partion of the risk of this item.
      Red describes the material’s flammability.
      Blue indicates the health hazard.
      Yellow indicates reactivity.
      The higher the number, the higher the risk.  As a member of CERT, if you see one of these in a fire or other emergency situation, stay away.  CERT members are not trained nor have the equipment to handle these kind of situations.
  • The instructor likes to give homework each week.  This weeks home work:
    Turn off all the lights in your house.  Go to your room.  Close your eyes really tight.  Spin yourself around until you are disoriented and dizzy.  Then, with the lights still off, try to get out of the house in 30-seconds.  During a fire, as I said earlier, you have about 30-seconds to safely get out of the building once the smoke detectors go off.  If you are awaken by them in the middle of the night, you will be disoriented.  The smoke will cause you to be more disoriented and dizzy.  This will stimulate to a some degree what it would be like if there was a fire.  Can you make it out in 30-seconds?

Check out more Emergency Preparedness tips at the recently updated Emergency Preparedness and Family Home Storage page at FoodStorage.MikesWorld.org.  Also check out my other CERT posts as I go through CERT training.

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