The purpose of BERT is to prepare and protect employees and their families before and during a catastrophe, and to provide a job for us to come back to after the event has been mitigated. This is accomplished by training key personnel at businesses in how to react ourselves and lead our fellow employees through a safe, orderly evacuation, with on-going evaluation of our surroundings. With orderly communications between fellow BERT members and the local Emergency Operations Center (EOC), we business leaders can make informed decisions to lead our staff safely and securely through a potentially formidable situation.
The BERT training is based on the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) curriculum developed by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). BERT members can achieve BERT-Certification by first completing the DHS approved CERT curriculum through an Academy-style training program; we are graduating our third Academy class. Added to each CERT module is a class discussion of how the principles can be brought to the individual businesses. For example, after the CERT Disaster Medical Operations module is presented to the students, a discussion ensues on what type of first aid equipment and materials should be readily available at the respective businesses. All the modules, Fire Safety & Suppression, Light Search and Rescue and Disaster Psychology all have a business emphasis/component.
The BERT-certification classes are organized utilizing the Incident Command System (ICS). That system is based on the command and control concept of no more than seven-person teams which evens-out the class attendees from the small office with seven employees to the large employer with 70, 700, or 7,000. The small business has one multiple of seven; the large employer has many multiples. Further, by understanding the key principles used by First Responders in a disaster, those that are BERT-Certified can hand-off the management of a crisis to a First Responder with as little duplication of effort as possible.