ASHLAND, Ore. – The scene is like that of a disaster movie. Every detail of an earthquake scenario has been recreated, down to the gruesome injuries and panicked victims, as volunteers scramble from one cry of help to another.
The training is a test of problem solving skills and resolve for the newest class of Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers.
“We’re going to rely very heavily on these folks, not only for the skills that they’ve been taught but to teach other people in the community just-in-time training,” said CERT Program Director Terri Eubanks.
CERT volunteers have been deployed 33 times in real-life disasters in the past 15 years. Trainers say those skills in triaging and transporting victims, emergency medical care, and emotional calm can and have saved people from the most common killers.
“Airway obstruction, bleeding, and shock,” said Eubanks. “If we can mitigate those from the folks who are injured within the first hour, the likelihood of their survival is increased at least 50%.”
The idea is that after today those volunteers will go home and create a network of trained responders on the ground in every community.
“Myself, my household, my neighborhood, and the community,” said Volunteer Chelsea Davis. “I want to help any way I can.”
Today’s training is one of two annual training events for the CERT team. While these volunteers are ready for the field, the next class will begin simulations in the fall.