Emergency and Disaster Preparedness: Are You Ready?
September 14, 2015
By Christopher Burrow, MD, EVP Medical Affairs

The horrendous wildfires roaring through California again remind us of the vital need to be prepared when an emergency or a natural disaster strikes.

Humetrix’ public health driven mission has led us to develop tools for individuals to help be prepared and be safe during emergencies. As part of our public health commitment, Humetrix also supports community emergency preparedness through membership in our local Southern California CERT program of Del Mar, Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe and Solana Beach.

CERT, the Community Emergency Response Team, is endorsed by FEMA. The CERT program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help.

Humetrix founder and CEO, Dr. Bettina Experton, and I are committed to put our physician skills to work to assist our community in case of a disaster and became CERT members of our Southern California community.

We believe the CERT program is extremely important. In a disaster or emergency situation, emergency personnel may not get to the people who need help right away. CERT training and certification allow all citizens to respond effectively and efficiently, without putting themselves in unnecessary danger.

Among the things CERT training covers:

Managing utilities and putting out small fires;
Medical skills: basic first aid; opening airways; controlling bleeding; treating for shock;
Search and rescue skills;
Organizing spontaneous volunteers;
Collecting disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts.

CERT members undergo just under 20 hours of training and participate in refresher drills, as well as have opportunities to assist local fire departments and other emergency responders in their community. We recommend everyone who is able consider taking the course.

As part of our commitment to public safety, Humetrix has also developed SOSQR, an emergency preparedness and response app for use on iPhones and Android smartphones that was showcased at the White House Disaster Preparedness Demo Day in July 2014 as one of the country leading innovations for the public to use. SOS QR allows you to:

Let loved ones know you need help by pressing a single button on your phone;
If you can’t call for help yourself, emergency workers and doctors can get your health information quickly, and let your loved ones know you have been hurt and where you are;
Automatically translate your emergency record to the local language of the emergency responders coming to your rescue when you travel to other countries.

September is Disaster Preparedness month, and September 30 is Disaster Preparedness day and this year FEMA’s word is “Don’t’ wait – Communicate”, so tell your family, friends and neighbors to Get Ready.

For friends in Southern California, please come visit us, and see SOSQR in action, at READY Long Beach Expo on Saturday, September 19 from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at Heartwell Park. Sponsored by local agencies and the local CERT group, this fun family event will promote emergency preparedness for the whole community. We are thrilled to be part of it!

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