Last week, San Gabriel High School in collaboration with the Alhambra Fire department celebrated the school’s CERT Program graduation. This program is based around students working both in the classroom and in conjunction with the local fire department to develop specific skills and gain basic knowledge about disasters and how the impact the community through hands on training. Some specific skills learned in this program are basic fire suppression strategies, techniques for opening airways, controlling bleeding, treating shock, CPR, First Aid and the searching/rescuing of victims in emergency conditions.
Following weeks of training, the CERT students had their final evaluation and graduation ceremony at the Alhambra Fire Training Center. The event began with an opening presentation by Assistant Chief Raymond Mosack to visiting AUSD administrators about the program and the challenges students faced during their training. Attendees were shown a brief video documenting the type of training students underwent and the day-to-day interactions with the firefighters.
It was then time for the CERT students to perform their final assessment, which included a series of challenging tasks aimed at testing their teamwork, leadership and decision making skills. One of the tasks was to put out a small fire. Students entered the building, accessed the situation, and relied on their training to safely eliminate the fire using a fire extinguisher. The next challenge was to remove a heavy object off of a dummy. Students quickly realized they could not lift the object, so they devised a plan to remove the object using wooden blocks to leverage the object off the victim. This task required students to display a great deal of timely critical thinking skills in the midst of crisis.
After the flawless display of skill by the students, the day concluded with a graduation ceremony to honor the work and dedication of each CERT program participant. CERT teacher Kathleen Loggings presented each student with certificates signifying completion of the course. CERT instructor Mrs. Kathleen Loggins and Career Tech Coordinator Judy Huffaker were also honored for their role in the CERT program success. Both the fire department and SGHS hope that students take their experiences and apply them to real life situations and possibly careers in the fire service, emergency management and emergency medical services.