RHAM High School CERT equipped to assist

Students and adults at RHAM High School have their own CERT team.

As the only operating high school Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in Connecticut, RHAM CERT assists first responders with emergencies and offers support before their arrival. 

With a minimum of 24 hours of training, students and adults alike are able to provide basic medical assistance.

"Like most CERTs, my people are trained in basic first aid and triage," Paul Bancroft, director of RHAM CERT, said in an interview with BioPrepWatch. "Each carries a small first aid kit, and we have additional supplies stored in a trailer."

The team from RHAM High School in Hebron has provided assistance during a variety of events, including Tropical Storm Irene, a snowstorm resulting in major power outages, and a search and rescue operation. 

When it comes to bio-emergencies, the team would leave response efforts to professional entities. 

"CERT training stipulates that they are not to attempt to respond to a terrorist event -- including a biological attack," Bancroft said. "They do not have the training or equipment to safely deal with an ongoing threat. They are to move to safety and report what they saw."

The team could potentially take on supportive roles during an outbreak. 

"In the event of a pandemic, CERTs might be asked to assist with the operation of vaccination centers (or) points of distribution handling traffic, paperwork, etc.," Bancroft said.

A unique characteristic about RHAM CERT is the team is able to document emergency response operations, both during drills and actual incidents. DVDs of the response can be reviewed afterwards to enhance emergency response efforts. A live feed can also be set up at incidents to keep any necessary contacts informed.

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