AS THE WORLD BECOMES A MORE DANGEROUS PLACE,
WE ALL NEED TO BE BETTER PREPARED TO HELP.

When we all took our CERT classes, the primary focus was more or less on “traditional” disasters such as earthquakes, floods, fires, storms etc. In these events, we told ourselves, we need to be able to help others right away, before the first responders (Police, Fire, EMS etc.) arrive. This is all still true.

But there’s more now. As we see a significant increase in crimes involving “Weapons of Mass Injury”, we realize that the skills we are taught in CERT class might be brought to bear in the most unexpected situation. We don’t need a traditional disaster any longer to bring life-saving and life-sustaining aid to others. On any given day, at any public event, in the most unexpected location, simple joy can instantly turn to tragedy through acts of violence perpetrated by others. This truth must be acknowledged and accepted.

We now have new visions in our minds when we think of “neighbor helping neighbor”. As a result, we must all be more aware of our surroundings, more aware of anything that seems unusual or out of place. We should consider “What would I do if…” more often. Remember the concept of terrorism awareness “If You See Something, Say Something”. I would emphasize, our awareness does not (and should not) come from fear, it should simply be a matter of being more awake and aware of our surroundings. We should ensure we remember our training, particularly the medical class (#3) which teaches us how to respond to life-threatening situations. We can all make a difference in an emergency, and we should if we can.

This has nothing to do with the traditional CERT activation. We know that we must be activated before deploying as CERTs. We remember that a suspected terrorist incident is a Stop sign for CERT. This is for when the unthinkable happens, when we act as individuals.

That is the true meaning of “neighbor helping neighbor”.