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A Growing Trend: Training Ordinary Citizens to Handle Emergencies

A Growing Trend: Training Ordinary Citizens to Handle Emergencies


By Allison G.S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest

Like any discipline, emergency management changes with the needs of society. Policies are created to manage society’s needs and help communities. As society changes, so will the policies that govern it.

As increasing numbers of people join emergency management as a discipline and profession and mass casualty situations continue to proliferate, post-action reports will reveal how emergency management has changed. Different needs will emerge and new situations will affect how emergency management is handled at all levels of government.

CERT Teams and Training Citizens on Handling Emergencies

Citizens trained in emergency services are desperately needed during minor and major events. A new idea – the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) – has put emergency services in the hands of ordinary citizens. In the United States, emergency management agencies have created CERTs with the idea that trained volunteers can help in emergencies and crisis management.

More importantly, CERTs provide more trained manpower to handle a first responder situation. These teams are becoming increasingly popular because they dramatically add to available resources during an emergency.

‘Stop the Bleed’ Program Helps Citizen Responders to Cope with Bleeding

The idea of training citizens in emergency-related topics also extends to concepts like the Homeland Security Department’s ‘Stop the Bleed’ program, which is similar to the American Red Cross and American Heart Association’s Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation program. The Stop the Bleed program focuses on teaching ordinary citizens to manage bleeding emergencies – particularly emergencies resulting from active shooter situations. Having citizens with this knowledge on the scene can save lives before emergency medical services arrive.

The concept of training ordinary citizens to handle emergencies is also being adopted in London. As the Daily Mail recently reported, London cab drivers will be trained in emergency medicine.

The choice to train cab drivers is an interesting idea, especially because cabbies are located all over the city. Training these individuals will add a new and wider dimension to managing emergencies in London.

Ultimately, as more and more emergencies occur, new standards will emerge to help manage those emergencies. Right now, the trend of training more citizens to handle emergencies could not come at a better time, especially when emergency management budgets are tight.

American Military University

Allison G. S. Knox An emergency medical technician and a political scientist, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior ... learn more


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