Class will teach safety skills

A class designed to teach ordinary people how to keep themselves safe in the event of an emergency will be coming to Webster County next month.

The Community Emergency Response Team is a group of volunteers that can be called in to assist any law enforcement agency that needs help in an emergency situation.

Ron Vought, CERT training coordinator, said the team will be holding classes to train anybody who is interested in becoming a CERT volunteer.

“They will be instructed on disaster preparedness and how to take care of themselves, friends and neighbors in catastrophic disasters in the event that first responders are overwhelmed and cannot reach their area right away,” he said. “We also teach them fire science and safety in addition to how to properly use a portable fire extinguisher so they can put out a small fire.”

Vought said this class was planned back in January. It is scheduled to begin on May 16 and continue through July 11 and will be held at the Elderbridge Agency on Aging Building, 309 Central Ave.

“It will be every Thursday evening, with the exception of the Fourth of July,” he said.

Other skills that will be taught to CERT members include how to shut off utilities such as gas and how to safely enter a building that has been deemed secure.

“Safety of the CERT member is paramount,” he said. “We are not professionals and don’t have the equipment to go into a major situation where people might be trapped.”

Vought said another session will teach CERT members how to talk with people who have been impacted by a disaster and to keep them calm, as well as teaching an enhanced first aid class.

“We’ll also provide information on how to stabilize a situation until a professional responder can arrive,” he said. “They won’t actually receive their CPR credentials from the class, but we emphasize that if they don’t have it to please do so.”

CERT members are also trained in triage, which is a manner of arranging people who are injured by how severe their injuries are.

The final exam will be a simulated mass casualty incident.

“It will basically be a question-and-answer session,” Vought said. “We will be simulating a mass casualty EF-5 tornado disaster. We’ll select key people into the roles of incident commander, public information, safety officer and others.

Vought said anyone can sign up for CERT classes.

“We can teach everybody to take care of themselves and their family in a crisis,” he said. “There are no limitations as to who can sign up.”