Saturday, May 14, 2011

Residents train to help first responders during city disasters - Chicago Sun-Times

Residents train to help first responders during city disasters - Chicago Sun-Times

Does anyone out there plan to take advantage of this training:
Since 2004, more than 350 citizens — everyone from lawyers to teachers to civil engineers — have graduated from a 20-hour course that trains them to serve as the eyes and ears of Chicago’s first responders. The team hasn’t been called to duty in a disaster yet, but its members have helped in city evacuation drills.

The course is taught by the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications and the Chicago Police Department.

Last month at the Chicago Fire Academy, 20 students were told not to enter buildings with catastrophic damage or attempt to fight major blazes. “Still, there’s a lot you can do,” said one trainer, Thomas Henkey, of OEMC.

In a parking lot, the students learned how to use a fire extinguisher to put out small fires. They were told to work with a buddy who can watch for danger as the person in front uses the extinguisher. And the class learned about the “fire triangle” — the oxygen, fuel and heat that all must be present for a fire to flourish. “Kick out one of its legs and it dies,” said Matthew Doughtie, another OEMC trainer.

They were warned not to enter a situation that would require a first responder to rescue them.

“We free up a firefighter or a cop. So don’t become the victim yourself,” Henkey said.

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