Monday, June 4, 2012

The Government’s Boots on the Ground When It Hits the Fan May Be Your Neighbors

It had been several years since I left my positions on the city fire department and county HAZMAT team to move to the mountain state to teach wilderness survival and firearms, but I still missed being an emergency responder. Especially after moving to town when I got married and started a family. When a friend asked me to join him at a CERT training session, all I knew was that it was an acronym for Community Emergency Response Team. A rational person would think that meant it was about becoming part of a team within my community that responded to emergencies. A rational person would be mistaken. Sure, the training covered the basics of first aid, emergency preparedness, fire safety, light search and rescue, etc., but lacked the depth of a boy scout merit badge on those topics. I could not help wondering why FEMA would spend so many of our tax dollars to duplicate duties that, in my professional experience, the American Red Cross and other nonprofit organizations provide for free.

I left the first day of training thinking that CERT, like many other government bureaucracies was just another hole the federal government pours money into hoping it will leach into productivity. I was tempted not to complete the training, but not being a quitter and already halfway to earning a really neat emergency response kit to add to the plethora of gear collected over a lifetime in emergency services, I resigned myself to spending another beautiful Saturday in a folding metal chair or aiming an electronic fire extinguisher at digital flames (we actually did this). Read more........

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