Marcelino Camilo (left) and Hector Ferreyra await their opportunity to extinguish the training fire during C.E.R.T. class Thursday night at Everett Fire Department Station 4 on March 14, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Marcelino Camilo (left) and Hector Ferreyra await their opportunity to extinguish the training fire during C.E.R.T. class Thursday night at Everett Fire Department Station 4 on March 14, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Fuego! Everett firefighters offer safety lessons in Spanish

The fire department wants everyone to have the same access to resources.

EVERETT — Gloria Pineda wanted to make sure she understood every detail.

Spanish is her first language. Fire safety is too important to miss a word here and there, when the goal is “to be able to help my family, my church and my community,” she said.

Pineda was one of about a dozen people taking a recent emergency preparedness class offered by the Everett Fire Department. It was the second time the eight-week course, officially called “Community Emergency Response Team,” has been offered in Spanish. The English version usually runs several times a year.

On March 14, the activity of the night was using fire extinguishers to douse a series of controlled fires.

“I’m excited,” Pineda said. “I want to learn how to do it.”

The lead instructor, fire inspector Bronson Pearson, studied Spanish and lived in Venezuela. His wife, Packy, is Argentinian.

“We have such a big Spanish-speaking population in the city and even in my own family that it would be a shame to not give them training and not have them as an asset,” he said.

The students can better assist others during emergencies, he said. Whether it’s in English or Spanish, they share what they learn and amplify the message. Traditionally, such training also connects folks to volunteering opportunities.

Veronica Martinez, of Casino Road, was taking the class for herself and her family, including her three kids, she said.

Many of her classmates heard about it through word-of-mouth, including Ricardo Montero, who signed up months in advance.

He was thinking about what’d he do if someone got hurt in a crash or a fall and he happened by, he said.

“I really feel that you need to be ready to help others,” he said. “It’s very important to be prepared. It can happen anytime, anywhere.”

Before taking on the extinguishers, the students spent time talking about topics such as electrical outlets, household chemical storage and water heaters.

Pearson showed a picture of a blackened outlet from a home in Everett.

“Yes, it happens a lot,” he said, particularly when extension cords are overloaded or misused.

He went over ways to create multiple escape plans in case of a fire, and suggested setting up an outdoor meeting place such as the mailbox. Occasionally have a practice drill at home, he added.

You don’t want to be distraught or in danger looking for someone in a fire, if they went over to the neighbors to eat tortas (sandwiches) and watch Netflix, he said.

Regulo Del Angel was a firefighter in Mexico for 10 years before moving to Everett.

His son, Jorge, 14, came to class with him so they could work together to “serve the community,” the father said.

“After my dad told me his experiences with firefighting, I just wanted to try it,” Jorge said.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @rikkiking.

Get involved

Learn more about Community Emergency Response Team training through the Everett Fire Department at everettwa.gov/243/CERT-Class or call 425-257-8111, or contact the fire department in your area. In Everett, people who live and work in the city are given priority for registration. The next class in English is scheduled to start July 17 and runs weekly for two months.

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