When disaster strikes there is only so much first responders can do with their limited supplies. However, people can train to become members of the community emergency response team, or CERT, to be a benefit to their neighborhoods.
Jon Corpany, program manager for CERT, said, “Anything we can do to prepare them for a disaster event, that’s our goal.”
When there aren’t enough professional responders, CERT provides training for anyone who wants to volunteer.
“We’ve gotta have people ready,” Corpany said. “Every neighborhood needs people that are trained like this.”
Through the 18-hour CERT course, everything from emergency preparedness to search and rescue triage is taught.
“We want them to experience it as if they are in a disaster,” Corpany said.
In the final mock experience, all that training is put to the test. Smoke, debris and screaming actors create the authentic chaos of a disaster.
“If they go into it knowing this is all fake and nobody is moaning or putting up a fuss it doesn’t feel as real,” he said. “They can become assets to the community and not liabilities and not become victims themselves.”
The next full training session will begin March 19. A smaller refresher course will be held Jan. 30.
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