Call Me N.E.R.T.

Prompted in equal parts by the book Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life, the fact that I now live in an earthquake-prone area (and knew nothing about earthquakes) and by a personal interest in “Survivalism“, I recently attended a training course to become a qualified NERT Volunteer. NERT, or Neighborhood Emergency Response Team, is a program offered by the San Francisco Fire Department which was started after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. As stated on the official NERT website;

Neighborhood Emergency Response Team Identification Card

The underlying premise is that a major disaster will overwhelm first responders leaving many citizens on their own for the first 72 hours or longer after the emergency. Our goal is to teach as many San Franciscans as possible that, with basic training, they can make a difference in the lives of their families and others when, not if, they are affected by a disaster large or small.

This is actually a pretty impressive program in my opinion, and is part of a bigger, national program called CERT. It contributes not only to individual, personal safety and education, but obviously helps build a more robust community that stands a better chance of surviving a disaster situation. The idea of distributing this sort of resilience also really appeals to me after reading books like John Robb’s Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization. So what did I learn?