Boone County Government Center employees took part in a two-day disaster emergency training program conducted by the Boone County Fire District.
The program, called Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, concluded Wednesday.
“CERT is based upon the ability of people to take care of themselves and others before trained emergency responders arrive,” said Assistant Chief Ken Hines, CERT coordinator for Boone County. “The reason that we so strongly support CERT and the reason that we teach CERT, is so that we have a better prepared county. It makes for a stronger community.”
Classes covered disaster medicine, triage, search and rescue and disaster firefighting. Students simulated disaster situations and tasks to foster a safe team response to a disaster situation.
CERT was developed by the Los Angeles Fire Department in the 1980s to prepare civilians in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. The assumption behind CERT is that a disaster would quickly overwhelm fire and emergency medical responders.
Boone County Government Center employees received initial training in 1998. This is the second set of employees to undergo the hands-on course.
Jane Morris, an office administrator at the government center, said the course teaches important skills.
“It’s a basic training in how to deal and what to do in a disaster to help the most people,” Morris said. “How to look at the big picture; make an assessment of where we can do the most good, doing what we can, and move on. We learned what we’re capable of doing and what we’re not capable of doing.”
The program was free to government center employees.
“This is actually part of a grant that we received from the state emergency management agency, SEMA,” Hines said. “We’re using the grant to purchase the protective equipment and to purchase the manuals and things like that.”