By JoAnn K.
I finished the NET training from the City of Portland this past November and it was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed learning what the City’s emergency personnel can/can’t and will/won’t do in a catastrophic emergency situation. I think there is a common misconception that in a catastrophe the police and fire rescue will be there to guide and help us. Unfortunately for the general neighborhood, the City’s emergency personnel are bound to save the greatest number of lives, which means during a catastrophe they will be obligated to go to the most heavily populated areas first – leaving neighborhoods on their own. Knowing this it becomes clear that it is important for us to get ourselves trained in proper emergency techniques.
The NET training covers utility shut-offs (when to and when not to shut them off, and how to do it properly), triage, disaster medicine, Fire/HAZMAT, and Search and Rescue. Curiously enough they don’t cover CPR and only basic first aid is discussed – an extensive knowledge of either of these are not required. Also, I was relieve to learn that NET team members are not to place themselves or others in danger to save another. There is no entering burning or collapsing buildings, etc.
After all of the training and practice there was an open book exam and a field exercise to put into practice everything I learned in class. The field exercise was more like another practice session as the trainers were right there beside us the whole time, offering tips and suggestions.
Anyone can take the training, even those with limited physical abilities. Accommodations are made at every step for those who have special needs and there are important positions in all phases of the emergency plan for those with limitations to fully participate and make a huge difference.
The emergency personnel for the City of Portland are just so thrilled with anyone willing to take this training that they are very accommodating and supportive of our efforts. I highly recommend everyone takes the NET training, the more NET team members in a neighborhood the better off that neighborhood will be able to handle catastrophic events.
Photo source: public domain