Lea Hill Residents Expand on CERT Training


By Martha Battles, Wesley Homes Lea Hill resident The residents at Wesley Homes Lea Hill have been preparing to act in case of an emergency. Twenty-seven of the current residents have completed the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training in Auburn and are now organizing 40 other residents into teams for action. They have adopted the slogan “Prepare…Because you Care.” Last October, approximately 71 percent of the resident population and several staff participated in the Great Washington Shake Out, joining over 800,000 in our state and millions across the country.  This was a “tabletop” exercise where small groups discussed what to do if the ground and building started shaking and glass started breaking. The residents requested more of this type of training, so the resident Emergency Response Team Steering Committee is now developing more tabletop exercises to put their training into practice. The resident team at Wesley Homes Lea Hill is “our poster child for disaster preparedness,” said Sarah K. Miller, Emergency Preparedness Manager for the City of Auburn. “The work they have done to pull their team together to respond in case of a disaster is a hallmark of a prepared community.” In cases of emergency, the Lea Hill campus has been divided into 12 areas with Area Captains and alternates. There are also four teams to provide support functions: Medic, Logistics, Structural Safety & Security and Control Operations. These captains and teams participate in exercises every Tuesday along with two resident Deputy Commanders who are called to perform in the absence of Campus Administrator Scott Hulet, who is responsible for all emergency activities. The Steering Committee is comprised of Scott, his deputies, the lead person from support functions and one captain coordinator; they meet to discuss supplies, training, personnel assignments and safety enhancements. The entire emergency response team meets monthly to learn about new developments and to receive additional training. All of these activities will be integrated with the Wesley Homes staff procedures. Future emergencies like winter storms, fire, explosions, power outages and another earthquake exercise are planned.  Evacuation is important so emphasis is put on how, when and where to go. Every resident is urged to have their own “go bag” equipped with supplies to sustain them for three to five days. The Lea Hill Resident Council has donated monies to help purchase needed supplies to augment those provided by Wesley Homes. Sarah has been bringing members of the Lea Hill team to talk with their peers within other community groups like retirement communities, mobile home parks and neighborhoods who are looking to develop their own disaster preparedness team. “People learn best from their peers. These are their peers, and they’re doing it right.”  

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