During my NERT classes, the trainers told us that the introductory training was good enough for the “lone wolf.” Basically, I would be able to take care of myself and my family during an emergency, and that was good enough. It meant at least one less person the SFFD and SFPD need to worry about.
If I wanted to contribute and help my neighborhood or the city, there were additional classes I could take. In particular, they recommended FEMA’s training modules, EMT classes, the American Red Cross’s first aid/CPR training, and getting licensed by the FCC to be a HAM radio technician. These were all on the Emergency list as well, so I decided to go for it.
I still need to take a look at FEMA’s classes, and EMT training requires signing up (and paying tuition) at a community college, but I could knock out the first aid and HAM radio with one-day seminars, so I decided to do those first.
I was actually certified for first aid and CPR back at in middle school, but that was a long time ago, so I was not sure what to expect. I signed up for the combination class for first aid, CPR, and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) for adults, children, and infants. First aid was exactly the same as before. For CPR, the numbers and order seem to have changed, but the process was the same for the most part. The only big thing I noticed was that they now emphasize how hard compressions should be. (“If you are not cracking ribs, you are not doing it right.”) The AED was completely new to me, but I was told it was simplified from what they taught previously.
The most important thing I learned that I did not know previously? Once you start CPR, you must continue it until paramedics come and take over. This is part of the reason why I learned back in NERT that CPR is not recommended when triaging; it takes up too much time on one victim when you should be trying to cover as many people as possible.
Next, I signed up for a “HAM Cram” seminar taught by BAEARS. The FCC licensing exam for Amateur Radio Technician is pretty difficult, from what I hear. This is an eight-hour class that “teaches the test” and you take an official test at the end. As you may or may not know, I am pretty good at standardized tests. Passed with a perfect score, and my official call-sign is KJ6POX. However, I have not actually purchased a HAM radio, so I have not had the chance to test my abilities or meet people.
Still nowhere close to becoming Batman, but I feel that I now have enough “support” skills to be a decent Alfred.