By Heather O.
CERT= Community Emergency Response Team.
I am officially a member of such a team.
My friend Sandra’s husband is an emergency prepardness DUDE. He forwarded me some information about the CERT class, and said it was free, and I should check it out. Since I am the emergency prepardness person in my ward, I figured I should do just that. So I looked at the schedule, saw that there was about 10 classes, and picked the one I wanted to go to. I sent an email to the gal in charge, and that was that.
Then I was told that wasn’t that. It wasn’t a choose your own adventure sort of deal. It was in for a penny, in for a pound. I had to do all 10 classes, and at the end, I would be a qualified member of an emergency response team, one of the county’s first responders in an emergency or disaster situation when professional responders are either overwhelmed, or can’t get to your neighborhood. I’m sure those people who have just lived through Ike can appreciate how necessary these kinds of teams can be, and I’m learning tons and tons.
It’s turning me into a psychotic loon.
Our last class was all about fire safety. I came home and took a look at my own house and garage, and decided that it’s a miracle my house hasn’t exploded in flames. Gasoline and propane, IN THE GARAGE TOGETHER? Plus, I have a big pile of newspapers waiting to be recycled, also in the garage. Um, HELLO!! It’s like living in a tinderbox, people!!
Then I started obsessing about how we could possibly get our children to the ground floor if there was a fire on the stairs, and this weekend we just spent over $200 on fire safety equipment, including ladders for each bedroom, carbon monoxide detectors for each floor, and smoke detectors, also for EACH BEDROOM.
THEN, I went to put my baby to bed, and saw that next to her box fan, which we keep plugged in while she sleeps, was a basket full of her blankets and some toys. I whisked it the basket away, saying, “One spark from this plug onto that stuff, and she’d be DEAD before we even knew there WAS a fire!”
My husband just put on his long-suffering look, and went back to his book.
It was then I realized that I am becoming Dwight K. Shrute.
I’ve only been to two training classes. Heaven knows what I will be like when it’s done.
But hey, if there ever is an emergency, I’ll be able to respond.
If they don’t cart me off to the funny farm before that.
For those of you unfamiliar with my pop culture reference, I offer the following. Enjoy, and imagine that’s me, crawling through the room with a fire extinguisher under each arm…. (Dwight K. Shrute is the one in the yellow shirt, and even though you can’t hear him, he’s herding people out of the office while the alarm goes off, shouting, “DO YOU WANT TO DIE?!!?” And even though it’s kind of repetitive, you have to see the last 5-10 seconds, where Dwight answers the question about what book he would like to have if he was stranded on a desert island. Classic, classic Dwight.)
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