You probably have arrived at this page because some members of the local community have approached you with information that they have started a SERAT and they want to help you with your mission. These individuals will have described the SERAT program and how they can help your agency be more effective and how SERAT can add to the resources you have available to you. This web page can help supplement the information these fine people have already furnished to you.
S.E.R.A.T. stands for Squadron Emergency Response Assistance Team. We are part of the United States Power Squadrons. If you are not already familiar with The United States Power Squadrons, here is a short description of our organization. If you have a little more time, here is a longer story that goes back to the beginning of USPS. As you can see the USPS has a very proud history of service to the United States and the public at large over the last one hundred years.
As you read on the first link above, the USPS tries to make the water a better place. We accomplish this goal with three primary missions: education, civic service, and fellowship. All three of these missions are equally important, without any priority given to any particular mission. The men and women that make up a SERAT unit are volunteers seeking the opportunity to make our waterways more safe and more fun. One of the first questions I was asked about SERAT from the United States Coast Guard was:
"Where do you get your funding?"
We are 100% volunteer all the way down to the fuel that we burn. This illustrates our commitment to our mission and the austerity of our members. Please recognize that if this volunteer team is called to render assistance and if at anytime a member of the SERAT feels they are uncomfortable with the assignment at hand they will not be compelled to assist.
We have required a certain level of training and competency from each of our SERAT members. We have required that all captains complete FEMA ICS training so that they are familiar with ICS and the NIMS. We have required that each vessel captain be required to achieve our own Piloting Grade or higher. This level of training is roughly equivalent to a USCG licensed 50 ton master. It is likely that most SERAT captains have training which exceeds that level, with many captains even able to use a sextant. All of our captains and crew are required to have First Aid and CPR training with an AED. There are no requirements for any EMT training. Our training focus is navigation, seamanship and small boat handling skills.
Our goal is to supplement existing
government resources with our own
Many fire and police departments contain individuals with EMT and Fire training, but lack water resources to respond to a water based emergency. This is where SERAT intends to dovetail into the existing resources and existing command structure. SERAT is able to furnish individuals with small boat handling skills and navigations skills along with their own personal vessels to assist a department responding to a water based emergency.
If a local government agency has one boat as their only resource for a water based emergency, and SERAT is able to furnish one boat to that incident, we have just doubled the resources available. SERAT can also be the "eyes and ears" of any government agency. Rather then expend resources to move assets into a potentially remote area, it's possible that SERAT may already have assets in that area. Once SERAT is able to confirm an incident or the magnitude of the incident, government agencies can decide the most effective and most efficient way to deploy the appropriate assets, so that resource allocation is as effective and efficient as possible.
A local Sheriff office or Fire Department may have a dive team and support boat for the dive team. While the support boat is servicing the divers, SERAT can patrol the area around the divers, preventing recreational craft from posing a safety threat.
SERAT is not limited to emergency incidents. SERAT can be very effective at planned events, allowing government agencies to redeploy their assets for more effective assistance and enforcement. The more assets involved, the better the chances for a successful outcome.
Education has always been a core mission of United States Power Squadrons. Whether its Tall ship festivals, dragon boat races, kayak paddle events, or any event that takes place on the water, SERAT can introduce entities to ICS and NIMS. SERAT can introduce and begin the emergency planning process. That way these organizations and events will be much more prepared when they sit down with government agencies to do formal emergency planning and apply for event permits. We can help make these meetings more productive which will help create a safer environment for the event.
There are many ways that SERAT can assist your organization. Please consider including your local SERAT in your own inter-agency cross training exercises. We are ready to Volunteer