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Keeping Our Skills Sharp!

Napa County CERT led a skills update training on the new Stop the Bleed program and Improvised Carry Skills.

CERT members from American Canyon, Napa and Berryessa practice Stop the Bleed wound packing skills.

Napa County CERT held it's annual CERT Skills Update Refresher Course on February 16, 2019 at the Napa Valley Community College in Napa, CA from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM. This half day training was for all Napa County CERT teams.

I thought it would be hard to carry a wounded victim, but they showed us how using a simple wooden chair makes it really easy and safe. - Shelly van Rijn, Berryessa CERT

Our CERT teams take their skills training seriously and this half day refresher training was no exception. Members from all three Napa County CERT teams came together to refresh their training on improvised carries and the new Stop the Bleed program. The January 2019 CERT class was the first to train a class on the new Stop the Bleed program so for many of the existing CERT team members the new wound packing procedures were a new and valuable skill that they learned that day.

Stop the Bleed Program

The Stop the Bleed Program was launched by the White House in October of 2015 and has since been incorporated into the standardized CERT training program by FEMA.

A simple pool noodle with gashes down the side and a PVC pipe in the middle served as a useful training tool. Members stuffed triangle bandages into the pool noodle "wounds" to get a feel for how difficult it can be to properly pack a wound so that the artery is properly compressed to stop the bleeding.

Proper tourniquet technique was also practiced on the pool noodle wound training devices as training with tourniquets on live people is never a good idea!

Improvised Carry Techniques

CERT members also got a refresher on improvised carry techniques. We learned how to use a chair to carry an injured victim out of harms way. Selecting the right type of chair is essential and several chair types were demonstrated along with the types of chairs that are not ideal for safely carrying a victim.

Improvised stretcher training was also demonstrated. Team members used wool blankets and poles to form impromptu stretchers and we practiced making the stretchers and rolling patients (each other) into the stretchers safely.

The most difficult and enlightening training was carrying a victim up and down a stairwell. Teams used a life sized mannequin on a stretcher to practice safe techniques and teamwork on getting a victim safely up or down sets of stairs. This was much more difficult than it would seem and the mannequin was very heavy! Teams quickly learned that communication was essential in navigating the tight turns and keeping the victim stabilized on the stretcher. With a spotter calling out cadence, teams found it much easier to move the stretcher when the teams stepped in unison.

Coming Together

Stepping in unison was a great metaphor for day of training held by Napa County CERT. Teams members from all over the county had the opportunity to get to know one another and refresh their skills. Wherever we may live in the county, if we work together our community is stronger for it.

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