CERT registration now open

West Pierce Fire & Rescue invites citizens who live or work in the Lakewood and University Place area to attend our next session of CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) classes.  Aimed at preparing groups of citizens in our community to prepare for and respond to disasters, these classes follow a model developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and offered in cities across the United States.  The idea behind this model is to teach people in neighborhoods how to help each other in the first few minutes or hours following a disaster – before emergency responder are able to get to them to render professional help.  In the classes, students will gain hands-on skills such as how to put out small fires, render first aid in a disaster situation, and perform light search and rescue.

The series of six classes will be held two nights per week for three weeks, from 6:00 – 9:00pm, and will culminate in a practical exercise to be held on a Saturday from 10:00am – 2:00pm.  Classes will be held at WPFR locations – see location notes below for each class.  Instructors will be uniformed firefighters with special experience in the particular area, or subject matter experts from other areas.  The classes are free!  The next CERT class is scheduled for February and it is FULL. Registration is now open for the April 2018 class.

To register, please send the following information to cert@westpierce.org:
Full name
Email address
Phone number


It’s always a great time to be prepared

Now is the perfect time to start being prepared for any crisis.  Below are some tips and ideas on where to start.

First Step: Make a Communication Plan!

Collect information. I don’t know about you, but most of my contacts are in my phone or on my computer.  Create a paper copy of all the contact information of your support network. This should include both land and mobile phone numbers, email and social media information for your family, friends, caregivers and neighbors. You should also include other important contacts such as medical facilities, doctors, schools and service providers. Be sure to make a copy for each family member.

Create a Communication Plan. How will you and your family stay in touch during and after a disaster? Establish a plan that works for everyone. Texting is a great way to communicate in a disaster. Texts are more likely to get through because they use far less bandwidth than a normal voice call and leave the phone lines open for public safety officials and people who need to call 9-1-1 for life-threatening situations. It is also a good idea to have an out of area contact. Long distance calls may have a better chance of getting through than local calls.  Choose a friend or family member who lives at least 100 miles away to be the “out-of-area” contact person. In the event of a disaster, your loved ones can call the “out-of-area” contact person to report their status and find out how everyone else is doing. Be sure to let the person know they are your out of area contact! Don’t forget to include your child’s school communication plan, as well as your workplace communication plan with all family members. Remember, the simpler the better.

Second Step: Be Informed!

Knowing what to do before, during and after an emergency is a critical part of being prepared.

Washington State is prone to all sorts of emergencies, from windstorms and power outages to earthquakes and the hazards associated with having a volcano in our back yard.

  1. Consider the types of disruptions that occur in a disaster. The power may be out, water and/or gas lines may break, stores may be inaccessible or out of supplies, and roadways may be blocked. Planning now can greatly reduce the impact these disruptions may have on you and your household.
  2. Write a to-do list to identify things you will need to have or actions you will need to take to minimize these disruptions. Include any special needs for your family, (such as pet care). Make sure to identify what to do if a disaster occurs while you’re at home, work, or at school.

Third Step: Create a Family Disaster Plan.

  • Meet with your family and discuss what you need to do to prepare for a disaster.
  • Pick two places to meet:
    1. One outside your home.
    2. One outside of your neighborhood.
  • Practice! Practice! Practice! Every six months review, update, and practice your emergency plan. The more you practice the more likely your plan will be executed flawlessly in a real disaster scenario.
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