Last Friday we had our final CERT meeting. It was actually our mock-disaster, and it was excellent!
It was held on Friday evening because the in-charge-ish captain from the Fire Department wanted to be there and couldn't come at our normal Tuesday night class time.
He picked four group leaders, and they each stood in corners of the room and took turns picking people from our class to be on their teams. I am proud to report that I was the second person picked out of our entire class. It was like public school physical education classes, where people from the class are chosen one by one. I used to always be picked last for that stuff, because I don't have an athletic bone in my body. Or muscle either. So I felt kind of bad for the last people picked, because I would have been happy to have any of them on our team. And being picked last sucks.
And now, an aside: something funny about our class is that there have been some funny issues with people's names. One lady who almost always sat in front of me was named Diane. (She still is, actually.) We had a fire fighter who started calling her Dinae (rhymes with Janae), though. And he didn't just do it once or twice, either. He name-dropped like crazy, as though he was trying to make her feel good because he was using her name, except that he had it wrong. And she corrected him once, and he made some excuse, and winked to keep it light-hearted. But then he went back to accidentally calling her that. So for the last few classes, a lot of us have called the lady Dinae, just because it's funny. She smiles about it too.
The other funny name thing is, we had a guy named Jeffrey. Jeffrey's an interesting guy. Anyway, our fire guy (for several weeks) was called Jeff. And before Jeff's second class, we had a conversation about names. (The firefighter Jeff remembered my name, because his wife is also an Emily (whose isn't?), but I hadn't remembered his name from the week before.) And Jeffrey from our class started talking about how he likes to be called Jeffrey and not Jeff, because his name isn't Jeff, and people shouldn't be lazy and shorten it. And the firefighter Jeff (who was actually really a Jeffrey but goes by Jeff), couldn't understand why Jeffrey was making a big deal about it, but even if it was kind of weird, Jeffrey was really clear about it anyway. AND THEN! Our firefighter Jeff obviously forgot all about it, because he shortened the guy in our class's name every time. It was really funny, because he wasn't doing it on purpose, but it obviously bothered Jeffrey even though he didn't mention it again.
Anyway, same guy in our class, Jeffrey, has also been really odd. He's from the singles ward that participated in our CERT. He's told us a few times about how he didn't kiss anyone until he was 29. And he has made a lot of winning comments like, "What if I can't touch anyone? Am I going to be able to do this in an emergency if I can't touch anyone? Because I really can't touch people. This one time, a lady was having [I forget what emergency] and I was right there, but someone else had to help her because I couldn't touch her." Or, "Last year, I made $9000, and I was only homeless for three days!... I lived with my girlfriend a lot that year. She was my fiance, but we didn't get married." Or, "I paid a lot of money to DeVry, but they wouldn't give me a degree because I'd never heard of algebra. Since when are numbers letters? Numbers should just be numbers. I was in special ed, and we never did algebra. I'd never heard of algebra before. So it was a waste of money. I have a high IQ, I just don't see things like other people do." Or, another time, someone asked everyone in class how they were doing, and he said "I have high blood sugar!" It was really very funny. The other people from his ward had heard all of his stories about 15 times, so they rolled their eyes a lot, I think. He was a nice guy, anyway.
Anyway, so the fire guy in charge of our CERT event picked four people, and he picked Dinae, and Jeffrey, and two other random people from the class. And of course Jeffrey picked me first for his team. So the whole event was really exciting. Jeffrey was supposed to be our team leader, and he didn't really do anything, because he was nervous about it all. Poor guy. At one point, he used special ed as an excuse. I told him, though, "Jeffrey. There is no special ed here. It's just CERT. And you're on CERT, and I'm on CERT, and we're all part of CERT, and we're all equal. And we just do our best, and don't worry too much, and you can do this. " So we had a little pep talk and kept going.
Basically, the way that the event worked, was, there were volunteers (mostly youth) who had fake injuries. Really good makeup fake injuries. So they looked like burn victims, and bruised, and bloody, and they were hidden all around the church building. And we had to find them, and organize things as though there were a real emergency and we were responding. There was search and rescue, and medical stuff, and so on. So we had 12 minutes to respond, and then the whole situation reset, and our group switched to a different responsibility. The first time, our organization was awful, and we totally didn't find all of the people, and were not very efficient, etc. By the fourth rotation, we did a pretty good job. I think in a real emergency, we would get the hang of it, even if we weren't completely organized until 15 or 20 minutes into the emergency.
My favorite part of the whole thing was using fire extinguishers. Which we finally did.
We took our pictures for our cards, had some final conversation about how things went, and CERT ended. Now I have a green backpack full of emergency response stuff, some interesting friends, a bunch of memories, a little bit of preparation for if there were (or when there is) an emergency, and free Tuesday nights.