LIHUE — Five Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) gathered for the annual refresher course Saturday at Kauai High School.
Teams from Kapaa, Kilauea, Princeville, Lihue, and Waimea went through five stations each, getting a crash course on subjects like how to lift a 2,000-pound cement roadblock, how to use gauze on a knife or bullet wound and how to apply a tourniquet.
Several Kauai Fire Department members taught eager CERT members in stations like a medical triage, communications, and emergency shelter building.
CERT members listened to Jeff Eisenbach, advanced emergency medical technician with American Medical Ambulance, and Jacob Irahnishi with the Kauai Fire Department, at the medical triage station. They watched intently as Irahnishi demonstrated how to administer medical gauze to a wound.
Irahnishi took a large piece of gauze and administered it to a dummy that had simulated wounds.
“Can you imagine how that would feel for your patient?” Irahnishi said after filling an artificial wound with gauze to stop hypothetical bleeding.
The CERT refresher course is something Eisenbach looks forward to every year. This year’s course is Eisenbach’s third.
After the medical portion of the module, the CERT group went through a triage where Kauai High School students posed as medical victims, complete with fake blood and simulated injuries. The group evaluated each one and even turned one over on his side in a group effort before moving on to the next “victim.”
“It’s all about relationships anyway because fire shows up on all our calls that we do, the last thing you want to have is any not good fellowship,” Eisenbach said addiing that he is the only non-firefighter teaching some of the modules.
He said in an emergency situation the stakes get magnified and it’s good to be on the same team.
“When these things come up, I’m excited and all over it,” Eisenbach said. “We’re already predisposed. It’s not who’s going to do it. Odds are if you are here, you’re going to be the one when it happens. That’s just the nature of the thing.”
Allen Parachini volunteered to be the incident commander for the refresher course.
“I’ve been in CERT for five years and we were desperate for volunteers. Desperation breeds desperation,” Parachini said, adding that the event was a learning experience for him. “There are things that we would not do the same way next year.”
In the heavy lifting/cripping module, CERT groups learned how to move a 2,000-pound concrete roadblock in a group effort with a team leader, a safety officer, lifters, and counter lifters. Their objective is to move the roadblock off the street curb back onto the street. It’s a process that takes a coordinated effort and the awareness of how to avoid injury within moving the heavy object with mechanical leverage.
Many of the CERT members raved about the heavy lifting module at lunch, stating it was their favorite of the five courses.
“Hands on,” one group member said.
“Two hands on,” another said.
The refresher course is the kind of training that becomes invaluable when true disaster strikes, providing the community CERT members with learning that they never hope they’ll have to use, but they will be prepared to respond to any and all community emergencies.
Ryan Collins, county reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.