The Greatest Good for the Greatest Number – CERT Members Learn Valuable Skills

CERT participant Towanda Birmingham-Adams practices light medical care on Corey Nobles.

CERT participant Towanda Birmingham-Adams practices light medical care on Corey Nobles.

The first weekend in April the San Jacinto Community Center experienced multiple small fires, multiple people experiencing multiple injuries and two large pieces of concrete that had to be cribbed to be moved. Luckily, this was all a part of the latest Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training in Riverside County.

The 20 hours of CERT training over Friday, Saturday and Sunday was sponsored by the City of San Jacinto and CALFIRE/Riverside County Fire. Over the weekend participants received a backpack filled with tools that they learned how to use in emergency situations when traditional first-responders might be hours or days away. Participants learned that, “That there are things that we can accomplish in an emergency situation before calling the authorities that can save lives and time”, says Corey Nobles. Several modules including search and rescue, triage, light first-aid and terrorism were covered. Participants were given multiple opportunities to try out their new skills before the simulation. CERT participant Towanda Birmingham-Adams learned, “Preparedness starts at home. I cannot help anyone else if I cannot help myself”.

The materials provided free at the CERT Training.

The materials provided free at the CERT Training.

On day three, participants were given a fake situation and were expected to use their new skills to get the situation under control. Everything seems easy until you enter a dark room filled with smoke, loud music playing and people moaning in pain and screaming out to you to help them. The participants were able to assess the outside damage to the building, put out the small fires, turn off the gas line to the building, triage all of the victims in multiple rooms in the building, carry out multiple live victims and apply light medical attention. These skills might not seem necessary for the average family, but Birmingham-Adams thinks they are very relevant, “Many blacks live in large urban areas that could have a large need for help in a large-scale emergency. Unfortunately still in the case of an emergency our neighborhoods usually are the last ones to get help. Therefore, we need to be able to help each other and not worry about others trying to help us.” Nobles agrees, “Black people should know more about this stuff because no one is going to care more about the black community than its residents”.

CERT teaches  light cribbing techniques.

CERT teaches light cribbing techniques.

The goal of CERT training is to learn to help yourself, your family and your neighbors. “Katrina though should be a prime example to blacks that, we must be able to help ourselves instead of depending on others” says Birmingham-Adams. To find out about CERT in your area visit

CERT teaches triage.

CERT teaches triage.

Anyone may attend the San Jacinto CERT training course. The next course will be offered in October.

Free Astronomy Kit for Afterschool Programs

From Teaching with Contests:

Afterschool Universe is an astronomy program targeting kids in out-of-school-time programs for grades 6-8. Two upcoming workshops provide free, comprehensive training that prepares participants to lead the program or train others to do so. All attendees who complete the training will receive a manual.  Most materials needed to run the program are available at grocery stores and craft supplies stores.  A free kit of materials that need to be ordered from specialized retailers is given to those who commit to run the program for the target audience (approximately $50 value).  In addition to the kit, participants receive password access to a Web site with additional resources to help implement the program.

Afterschool Universe is an out-of-school-time astronomy program targeted at middle school students. It explores astronomy concepts through engaging hands-on activities and takes participants on a journey through the Universe beyond the solar system. This program is now widely available to afterschool program providers to run in your local communities.

Middle school students are fascinated by the cosmos and topics such as star birth, star death, and black holes. But they rarely have an opportunity to explore that interest as the middle school curriculum does not typically address these topics. Afterschool Universe was developed to fill this niche as the middle school years are a critical time in the development of attitudes about science and career options, especially in girls. By offering astronomy programming in out-of-school-time, where schedules are less constrained, we can engage students in science and keep them interested.

There is a tremendous potential for teaching science and astronomy in the afterschool setting. Young people spend a large percentage of their time out of school and many of them do so in unstructured and unsupervised ways. Afterschool programs often reach those who most need additional help and can be offered in a variety of settings where the students go when the school day is over.