Wednesday, October 07, 2015

What I Learned Finishing CERT Academy Training?

I completed the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) academy training in Feb 2015. It was a two week, three days a week course plus a final for a total of 7 training days. I learned two concepts. The first concept was extinguishing light fires, triage, light search & rescue, disaster psychology, terrorism, and CERT organization. These are skills CERT volunteers apply in disasters. A wide area disaster requires these skills to help people.

The second concept I learned was any school environment teaches the foundation only. School environments include K-12 schools, colleges, academies, training seminars, vocational, and any boot camps. The students don't become experts immediately. Students graduating with a 4.0 GPA don't necessarily mean they're a professional fresh from graduating. Take the initiative. Students are responsible to get experience outside the school environment. Students are responsible to learn more outside the school environment. The acquiring experience and extended learning are indefinite. Bruce Lee said it best, “Even today, I dare not say that I have reached a state of achievement . . . for learning is boundless.”

The CERT academy was information overload. We didn't finish learning the entire material in a 2 inch binder. I'm responsible to learn new skills to be a smarter CERT volunteer. I must acquire more knowledge such as first aid and CPR. I must stay physically fit. I must participate in practice drills to keep my life saving skills sharp. The idea continuing CERT training outside the academy applies to real life. Don't take your knowledge for granted. You learn it. You know it. You remember it. You're a master. The chain is incorrect. There's going to be periods of time you must review your knowledge. You must refresh your skills. You must learn new knowledge. Police, fire fighters, paramedics, military, and teachers are required to refresh their skills, to retrain, and learn new knowledge. Professional sports players practice their fundamentals daily.

Choose your strengths. We are different. Pursue the skills you feel comfortable learning. For example, in CERT training, I was comfortable learning search &rescue. Learning search & rescue was more natural than learning first aid. Another example is computer programming. I had trouble learning programming skills in college. On the other hand, learning economic theory was easier; in particular, microeconomic theory. Economics was natural because abstract thinking was one of my learning strengths.

My best story to illustrate taking my knowledge for granted happened in high school. I took French I in my freshmen year. I earned an A. I aced the final. The teacher told the class after we took the final to spend time each summer vacation day to review our French vocabulary. I didn't. I believed I remember my French. I was wrong. I spent my summer vacation having too much fun. I enrolled in French II in my sophomore year. I forgot most of my French vocabulary. I struggled the entire year. I should have spent time during the summer to review my French. The students didn't have textbooks. The teacher returned our homework assignments. Access to French I material was available. There was no excuse failing to review French I.

In conclusion, learn first aid and prepare for disasters. Also, continue learning outside the classroom. Don't take knowledge for granted. Never stop learning. Continue training. Continue refreshing. Innovate infinitely.


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