Volunteer emergency responders demonstrate skills in mock exercise
Clif Knight, Hartselle Enquirer
A mock disaster complete with explosions, fire and rescue operations was used as a pre-graduation field exercise for 18 Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT) members on Saturday. The half-day event was staged in the basement of First United Methodist Church in Hartselle.
CERT volunteers acted on instructions from a command center, which was set up at a safe distance from the church building. They suppressed fire in the building, rescued three trapped victims with injuries and administered basic first aid to them while awaiting the arrival of rapid responders. Communications support was provided by a HAM radio operators club and members of a local Boy Scouts troop observed the exercise.
Following the exercise, CERT members received diplomas as a climax to their eight weeks of training. They are the second group to complete the training program.
Hicks said the CERT program is co-sponsored by the Morgan County EMA and Volunteer Center of Morgan County and stems from a national “Be Ready Campaign” promoted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security.
Homeland Security funds were used to offset the cost of training and provide volunteers with emergency response tools and supplies.
Two new CERT classes will begin in Decatur on Oct. 16 and another will begin in Trinity on Oct. 17. A class is also being planned for teens of ages 16, 17 and 18.
Anyone wishing to register for a CERT class may do so by calling the Volunteer Center at 355-8628.