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CERT creates mock disaster scenario to train public how to respond when disaster strikes

REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI) - Concerned members of the community gathered together to receive some hands on training on how they could then help people when a disaster strikes. The organization running the day's training was the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), an organization focused on doing the most good for the most amount of people in life's worst case scenarios.

The scenario that would help train the members of CERT was a school that had survivors in it after an earthquake had caused some serious injuries to those inside the of the building. Volunteer members of CERT were sent in to see the damage to the building as well as provide first aid to people inside the building.

Jon Corpany has been a part of this organization for 18 years, and during a weekend simulated training event, says for him and the rest of the volunteers.

"This is as real as it gets for us until a real the real thing happens. So we have victims that have been mocked up with Moulin Rouge or that make up survivor victim."

He says to add to the scenario they, "have people with that Moulin Rouge that we try to simulate the wounds and and give give the responders and people that are trained in the CERT program as much of a real feeling as they can get without the real thing happening."

Corpany says the CERT program he's a part of helps out in many different places in the region.

"We primarily focused on that right now in our counties of Teton, Fremont, Madison, Jefferson and Bonneville, just because that's kind of our zone," he said.

He says CERT does more than just prepare people for disaster striking and helping others but helps train them on how they can help their families. "

Families have crisis occur or crises occur every day," he said. "There's things, you know, every every family has something unique happening, happen to them. And we're trying to do things to help them to be better prepared in those small things."

Micheal Hopkins, one of the CERT volunteers who were participating in the training scenario, says the training helped him understand a few of his shortcomings when it involved helping people in disaster situations.

"I saw where I was slow and where I needed to slow down. That was one of the biggest fundamental thing. There's a lot of things that it's hard to judge in a situation like this. Like, okay, that arm, it's obviously cut, but is it still bleeding? What what's the situation? You can't judge that, but you can judge," Hopkins said. "I took too much time here. I didn't calm this person here. This I rated this way. And the idea is every time you run into a situation, you should be able to assess it faster and quicker. One of the key things about certain is we're here to help the most people in the fastest amount of time. And so we can't get bogged down with one individual or else we can lose a lot of individuals."

Hopkins added those interested in volunteering with CERT will find a friendly environment.

"It is just the open, friendly environment that it is. I've never been to meeting, never been in a situation where I've been I've seen people so accepted and so open. It's a place for anyone, but especially anyone who wants to to contribute and help."

Maverick Hisler, a volunteer who portrayed one of the many different survivors in the school building, says for him the scenario was much realer than he had anticipated.

"But at the same time, it's just practice. But once you start to really get your headset into the idea of, like, this being a real scenario, you start to wonder, like, just how long it has to wait for the help."

He says the experience of the simulation scenario has given him a chance to have a new understanding of how disasters can affect us.

"In this scenario, of course, you know, we had people who didn't make it and the impact that would have on survivors of feeling like if they hadn't helped me, maybe they could have saved that person instead."

This drill was a part of the federal CERT program. CERT also offers free classes and trainings on how to prepare for when disaster strikes. A link with more information on those classes can be found here.

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Braydon Wilson

Braydon is a reporter for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.

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