By Darryl Alder
Mar 10, 2017

Be Prepared Through CERT

Last Wednesday, for the first time in my life, I put out a fire with an extinguisher (see picture upper left). I always wanted to do it, but it was both more formidable and satisfying than I had imagined.

Why would I being doing this, you ask? A few years ago my LDS ward asked me to take a CERT course, but a surgery kept me from completing it. This year however, I am going to get it done. I have to, …after all a Scout’s motto is “Be Prepared!’

Actually that’s what the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) it all about, preparedness. This training program is a way for people like me and others from all walks of life to learn basic skills we might use during a disaster. There is even a young Venturer in our group and if you ask me, this course is right up any Venturer’s ally.

That white haired serious guy is me in the thick of a simulation.

Some of the other skills we are learning, include things such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations.They promise us that by using the training learned through CERT, we can assist others our their neighborhood or workplace when professional responders are not immediately available to help.

Last week we had a mock incident in the Windsor area of Orem. My group made me incident commander, but our resources were so limited and the time pressure so great, I have to admit I was happy to have the fire department arrive. Still it helped us all see what will be expected if we don our vests and hats and show up at an emergency scene. It also occurred to me that it would have helped the exercise to have some Venturers come forward to help. 

It is nice to know that you can register for a Teen CERT Class too. Just  email Chris Blinzinger at for more information. 

The training this week prompted me to ask our team at work to identify six exits at the Scout office and to locate the nearest fire extinguisher.  This of course, is all part of our Great Utah Shake Out preparation. 

What is your unit doing to prepare? What about your household or work?

Darryl Thumbnail
Author: Darryl Alder | Strategic Initiatives Director, Utah National Parks Council, BSA. He is the adviser to the Council’s Enterprise Risk Management Committee..


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2 thoughts on “Be Prepared Through CERT

  1. Steve Faber

    Great article Darryl!

    I became involved with CERT the same way you and many others did, by responding to an opportunity presented by local LDS church leaders to be more fully trained for emergencies. The result was that both my oldest son (a Varsity scout at the time) and I became CERT trained. This training, in combination with a ham radio push our LDS stake was doing at the time, turned out to be the basis for my son’s eagle project ( ).

    It’s amazing how many previously unseen opportunities for service (and Eagle projects) spring up when adults accompany/encourage their boys in their interests.


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