|Some Carbon County CERT members using a backboard during a recent training session.|
When one hears the words "first responder", most naturally think of police, fire or EMTs. The fact is that in 95 percent of cases, the first help to reach a victim is another victim or a passerby. This in itself is enough reason for citizens to be trained to be able to give assistance to neighbors, friends or strangers in an emergency or disaster.
Federal Homeland Security money is distributed to the states with some strings attached and a certain percentage must go to support volunteer efforts.
According to Matthew Hurtes, Utah CERT coordinator, there are 116 CERT organizations in the state. During the last 12 years, there have been 15,000 volunteers trained.
CERTs were originally created to give help until the professionals could arrive. During the last two years, their usefulness has been expanded to work in conjunction with professional responders. It's about protection for everyone. State and even national emergency management systems are depending more and more on trained volunteers. This plan is a new vision for CERT.
CERT carries on the tradition of the militia of 200 years ago which were provided for in the U.S. Constitution. Instead of firearms, CERTs use fire extinguishers, bandages and cribbing blocks.
Civilian Emergency Response Team members from Carbon County recently attended two training workshops to improve their skills and abilities to deal with disasters in the local community.
Earlier this month 277 participants from southern Utah attended lectures on such subjects as animals in a disaster, transporting the injured, the medical reserves corps and stress in critical situations. Experts were brought in from all over the state to do the training.
Review drills were conducted on fire suppression, triage, cribbing, advanced bandaging, spiral immobilization and femur traction splints.
The skills various attendees have were tested in a drill simulating a terrorist attack. During the training 18 persons were "injured" so that they had to be treated and/or extracted from various kinds of situations.
Another CERT class was completed locally on March 18.
There were 25 graduates of that program and they will be formed into neighborhood teams which can get assistance to people in a disaster or other emergency situation. CERTS are trained in disaster medical operations, light search and rescue and fire suppression.
The teachers for this course were Phyl Johnson, CEU Security, and Tony Kourianos, Carbon Co. CERT Commander.
Training is free and new classes will be forming. For more information, call Dennis Dooley, 636-3725.