First CERT class since pandemic a success


Last month marked the completion of NEMCo’s first Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) basic course since the COVID pandemic. This program offered more than 20 members of the community a three-day course that provided more than 24 hours of training on local hazards and basic disaster preparedness. The training included hands-on training in fire safety, light search and rescue, and disaster medical operations.  At its conclusion, and after a hands-on final practical exercise testing their new skills, each student earned a certificate indicating that they have been trained in these basic skills which will allow them to join CERT groups throughout the region and better help their friends, neighbors, and the public in the event of an emergency. Some of those newly certified CERT participants have already taken the initial steps to become State-certified volunteer emergency workers and will be further enhancing their skills and experiences as members of NEMCo.

This quarter, the NEMCo Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) Chief Radio Officer, Jon Rumsey, coordinated two advanced amateur radio trainings in Winlink, an emergency radio messaging system used by organizations throughout the country, for both NEMCo and other area ham radio operators. Area hams participated in basic and intermediate skill level training and had an opportunity for hands-on practice with their own equipment. This training was followed by a three-day exercise coordinated by several of our experienced ham radio volunteers in various communications modes, including the popular VARA protocol. This exercise was open to ham operators throughout the region to practice sending radio/computer messages throughout the area via the amateur radio system. Operators from Mukilteo, Redmond, Bothell, Shoreline, Mercer Island, Wenatchee, and even Albuquerque, NM joined in contacting the net using Winlink protocols. The ability to network with fellow hams throughout the region and beyond is critical in ensuring supplemental communications during emergencies when government resources are overwhelmed.

We thank all our volunteers, partnering ham radio operators, and members of the public for contributing to the success of all these training programs!

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