I thought it could be helpful to record some short videos showing some of the adaptions and modifications that we made to the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training course here in Brazil. Unfortunately the quality of the videos isn't that great, however I hope that could be of use to those who are adapting the standard CERT course for use in different cross-cultural applications.

These videos are on my Youtube channel, however here some links and brief explanations as well.

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First aid classes for city school teachers and teachers' aids

Last week I taught two more basic first aid courses to city school teachers and teachers' aids. There were in addition to the two other courses that I taught to school directors and teachers before travelling overseas, and all of these classes, which I gave on a volunteer basis, were very well received.

Here are some photos from the last two courses.

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Visit to Fire Department

Today I was able to take some of the members of our Teen CERT group to visit the Nova Friburgo division of the Rio de Janeiro State Military Fire Department (CBMERJ). The young folk were shown through the ALS ambulance, rescue vehicle and fire engine and received demonstrations of equipment including breathing apparatus and the jaws of life. They then had the opportunity to practise using hose lines.

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Here are a couple of photos of Kevin and Marlon trying out the software that I have written and installed on our two working computers: Kevin was testing his English vocabulary whilst Marlon was doing some times tables.

The software, which I started writing on Sunday and is over 2,000 lines of Visual Basic code, ensures that the teens do some schoolwork revision before they get to use the games or internet.

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I was able to take four of our teens to a local river today - despite summer being officially over we got a mostly sunny day.

It's always hard to choose who gets to go as due to financial issues, the size of my car, and the lack of available adult helpers, I'm very limited in how often I can do these sorts of activities and how many of our youth can participate at any one time.

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Christmas

Christmas here was noisy as usual, however it was good to be able to have a meal with some of the young people from the project. I was able to bring back over dozen small Christmas presents from New Zealand for our teens and adult leaders, as well as some edible Christmas tree decorations, which were a big hit.

Here are a few photos.

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Back in Brazil

I finally made it back to Friburgo around 5 am, after a four hour delay getting into Rio.  Some of the young people helped me unpack my bags - even I am amazed at how much I managed to get into them this time!

There was a landslide here in town on Wednesday, fortunately no-one was injured however as there has been unusually heavy rain for the latest few days the city is currently in a state of alert.

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Teens' group meeting and party

We had a meeting of our teens' group tonight and a surprise party, partly to celebrate Brazilian Childrens' Day, which is next Wednesday, and partly as a social activity as we probably won't have a chance to have another meeting until I get back from New Zealand in mid-December.

It was also an opportunity for six of our teenagers to receive their new ranks within our group structure, including Kevin who is the first member of the group to be awarded the Junior Commander rank.

Turnout was less than expected, which was not doubt due, at least in part, to a shooting (death) that happened here in the hillside last night, and the environment here which feels like we are in a state of siege at the moment. Neverless, the meeting went very well and the party was a great success.

Here are some photos from our meeting tonight.

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Programming lessons

Over the last couple of weeks I have been running some Small BASIC programming lessons to a small group of young people. It's great to see these teens wanting to learn programming - at their request we did a double class yesterday and are getting into nested IF-THEN-ELSE conditions.

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After several months work (and one builder who simply disappeared one day and never came back), we have finally finished the major work on our old church building, now missions base. The major changes including moving a doorway, adding a roller door and closing off the upstairs flat roof area to make another room.

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Games night

It was great to open our base for some of the kids from the teens' group to play games tonight. We're hoping to make some adjustments soon to the building, to make the space more usable and secure, and to prepare for what I hope will be my soon return to the house that I built above the then church building just over ten years ago.

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Teen group hike

Today I took some our teens hiking up a nearby mountain (I survived!).

While on our climb back down the mountain the teens found and buried a blue parakeet, which seemed to have died of natural causes. Sorry kids, I guess that means that that there won't be any more Rio movies!

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Teen CERT course

Today we finished another week-long Teen CERT course at the Cordoeira Residents' Association hall in Nova Friburgo with help from the members of our CERT and Teen CERT groups. The course went very well and we had a great final exercise, based around a simulated aircraft crash, with help from a visiting team of overseas missionaries.

Here are some photos from the course and final simulation exercise:

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"My first contact with Christ was through you"... "I thank God for sending you (plural) to that place".

Today I had a facebook chat with a young man called Carlos Henrique who I haven't seen for at least 14 or 15 years. He was one of the first kids that the House of Project (which later became the Friburgo Iris Base) reached when he was in his early teens and it was wonderful to hear from him after all this time and find that he is going on with God.

Nova Friburgo February 2014

Howdy,

Its now been just over three years since Nova Friburgo became the epicentre for Brazils worst ever natural disaster, when heavy rainfall caused landslides and flooding that killed an offical total of just under one thousand victims. Although there have been some signs of progress since then, many of the scars from that time period still remain. Today I took some photos around town to illustrate an article that I am writing for an emergency management publication, and I thought it could be interesting to also share some of them here.

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Civil Defence Simulated Evacuation Exercise Granja Spinelli

Yesterday our Crisis Response Unit, together with some of the teenagers that we trained in the Teen CERT program, participated in a city-wide Civil Defence evacuation simulation. Our team of ten responders, with the help of another eleven local Teen-CERT members, helped in the suburb of Granja Spinelli where the siren was activated and the local school was opened as a temporary evacuation point.

It was great to see how our teams worked so well together with the local authorities and other responders from the Red Cross and military.

Here are some photos from yesterday's exercise.

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Crisis Response Unit and Teens Group Training

Since Setember we have been holding two-weekly meetings on Saturday nights where we provide advanced training to members of our Christian Crisis Response Unit and young people from our teens group who have completed the Teen CERT course. Over the past several meetings we have trained with the SKED stretcher, tested an Meal Ready to Eat (MRE), and practised one and two personal profissional CPR and the use of the Bag Valve Mask (BVM) and Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).

Here are some photos from recent training meetings:

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Teen CERT Course - Municipal School Professor Alberto Meyer

This week I finished another Teen CERT course at a municipal school in the suburb of Granja Spinelli, here in Nova Friburgo - RJ, which was badly impacted by the landslides back in January 2011 and, sadly, still shows the scars of that devastation.

21 young teens completed the course, which was very encouraging to see, and I am planning to ran another course for another group starting tomorrow.

As we do not receive any funding to provides these courses, please consider helping by promoting my fundraising page at www.gofundme.com/TeenCERTRJ

Here are some photos from the week.

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Teen CERT Course at E.M. Dante Magliano

Howdy,

Last week we ran another Teen CERT course, this time for a dozen teenagers who study at the Escola Municipal Dante Magliano here Nova Friburgo. The course went very well, and it was good to see how the young people learned the basic of emergency preparedness and response during the 20 hour course.

These courses, which are running free-of-charge, have been very well received, and is good to see that we can help prepare our city, which was impacted by  Brazil's worst natural disaster back in 2011. Unfortunately, the recently released Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Plan shows that over 18,000 residents in our city continue to live in houses which have a high to very-high risk of collapse in the event of heavy rainfall.

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Teen CERT course, Cordoeira - Nova Friburgo

This past week we have just finished teaching another Teen CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) course in the suburb of Cordoeira, Nova Friburgo - RJ. As you can see from the photos, there is still a lot of damage around from the landslides that happened in January 2011, and as we are soon to be coming into the rainy season once again, it is good to be focussing once again on community preparedness.

It was a great time, albeit very busy, and you can see how we have been able to obtain and prepare the necessary equipment so as offer the course free of charge to the young people of this at-risk suburb. I am also hoping to be able to continue running these courses in city schools, and would appreciate your help in promoting our funding page http://www.gofundme.com/TeenCERTR as we are in need of further donations in order to be able to continue this project.

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Teen CERT courses - Nova Friburgo

Hi,

I have just finished a very busy but profitable week, running the Teen CERT disaster response course for two groups of teenagers at a local school. In all, we had 24 students who completed the training.

One of the highlights of the week, for me, was hearing from a young man who had completed the Teen CERT training last year, and told me how that he had used his new found first-aids skills three times since then, including at two traffic accidents.

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Civil Defense display, 7th April 2013

Hi,

On Sunday, the 7th of April, members of our Crisis Response Unit participated in a public exhibition, in the main square of the city of Nova Friburgo, put on by the city Civil Defense Department and called "Civil Defense close to you".

We mounted our small tent and, as well showing some of our equipment, we ran some basic first aid lessons for kids from city schools.

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Nova Friburgo, two years later...

I recently had the opportunity to visit a suburb here in Nova Friburgo - Rio de Janeiro which was devastated by the landslides on the 12th of January of 2011. Despite the fact that this suburb is some 2 - 3 km from the centre of the city, as you can see from these photos that I took, it seems that little or nothing has been done in the intervening timespan, and the vast majority of the residents have been forced find other accomodation elsewhere.

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CERT training for Civil Defense Volunteers, Nova Friburgo, 26-28 May

Hi,

Over the weekend over the 25th to the 28th of May, our >Crisis Response Unit ran a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) course, in partnership with CARE Brazil, to train Civil Defense volunteers in the suburb of Duas Pedras, Nova Friburgo.

The course went very well, and we even featured in an article in the local TV news on the Saturday evening. We finished the training on the Sunday afternoon with a full-scale simulation which was held inside a bus station.

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Remembering the tragedy of 12 January 2011

Today, the 12th of January 2012, is exactly one year since the devastating flooding landslides that hit the mountainous region of Rio de Janeiro state, and especially the city of Nova Friburgo, resulting in an official death toll of nearly 1,000 and a probable total of around 3,000 fatalities. Our Crisis Response Unit participated in a public meeting in the town square, where a community emergency plan, in which we participated, was also presented. Here are some photos of that event.

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New Year's day 2012

On New Year's day, around 9 pm at night, we were told by the local Residents' Association vice-president that, due to the heavy rain that was falling and forecast, all the at-risk areas in the city were placed on alert. As our suburb of Cordoeira has a siren system to warn residents of impending danger, we opened the Association hall as an Evacuation Area and staffed it overnight, in case the alert was sounded to evacuate the danger zones.

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Crisis Response Unit simulation - 29th December 2011

On the 29th of December, our Crisis Response Unit held a simulated search and rescue exercise in the suburb of Cordoeira, Nova Friburgo - RJ. Despite the rain, which added a certain realism to the exercise, the simulation went very well, and both our team members and ""victims"" performed heroically.

Here are some photos from the exercise.

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Nova Friburgo Crisis Response Unit Training Course

Howdy,

This weekend (the 3rd and 4th of December), I prepared and taught a short (20 hour) training course for the members of the Nova Friburgo CRI Crisis Response Unit. Subjects covered included HOPE (House of Prayer and Encounter), introduction to CERT, CISM-7, basic First Aid, Light Search and Rescue, Triage, and basic Fire Suppression. And we a neat time of worship on the Sunday morning, when the Holy Spirit showed up.

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Friburgo CRI Crisis Response Unit participate in Civil Defence exercise

Hi,

It's been a while since I updated my blog, and I'll try to put update some of my recent activities when I can. However, after a quick trip to New Zealand for my brother Nate's wedding, I'm now back in Nova Friburgo, where I have beenworking to set up a volunteer Christian Crisis Response Unit, affilliated with Crisis Response International. This seems to be especially important at the moment as we are coming into the rainy season again at the moment, and there is a very real risk of further landslides (just this weekend, Friburgo was in a situation of alert due to the heavy rainfall).

 

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Nova Friburgo one month after the tragedy

Today, which marks the one month aniversary of the rains, floods and landslides which have killed at least 890 people in the Região Serrana of Rio de Janeiro, I visited some areas nearby the city of Nova Friburgo which have been devasted. My visit, with some members of the CERT team that I trained here in Friburgo, was primarily so that we could take some photos that would help enhance further CERT training course.

I was amazed at the destruction that we encountered so close to the city center.

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Friburgo - 4th of February

Today I've been preparing for the upcoming Community Emergency Response Team</a> refresher course which I will run for some of the folk here in Friburgo who I've previously trained in first aid and rescue (I founded and led an Iris Ministries church here in Cordoeira for nearly eight years, before moving to São Paulo  in 2009 to found a ministry called Avivamento Já).

Anyway, as part of this preparation we took some photos of houses in the suburb of Cordoeira which were destroyed during the landslide (although, with two reported deaths this suburb got off lightly compared to many others).

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Please pray for Nova Friburgo and the surrounding region - heavy rains have caused landslides resulting in the deaths of at least 155 people in Friburgo and 335 in the state of Rio de Janeiro. Friburgo has had at least 30 landslides and is without power, water or communications, including telephones, internet and mobiles and I haven't yet heard from Trina about the situation there in Cordoeira.

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