Emergency Response in Region 8

June 10, 2003
Posted at: 10:41 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, Ark. -- If a disaster hits, Region 8 is now a bit more ready to handle it, thanks to a small group of citizens that have been donating their time to learn more about emergencies and how best to respond to them.

Tuesday night was graduation for local participants that are now part of the first "Community Emergency Response Team" to be organized in Craighead County.

Team members learned about search and rescue, first aid, and basic fire fighting. After the class they're confident they'll be able to help out when disaster hits.

As pseudo-victims took their place for the final exam, CERT members assessed their simulated emergency sight.

"We're really a disaster oriented team for whenever the normal response teams and emergency people are overwhelmed," said Darryl Kelly.

Rescuers found a man trapped inside a simulated collapsed wall as part of the test. They assess their medical needs, and re-assess the situation. Then head back inside to get a woman who has a broken leg, and drag her to safety.

"Under these conditions you get to put it all together," said James Holland, a team member from Bono. "You start doing the search and rescue. You understand the impact of what you've been doing and how you can help in this situation."

"To give us some practice and a little practical experience," said Charles Marks, a participant in the exam.

The graduates are given a back-pack with basic tools and supplies to help them better treat victims of any disaster that may strike.

"Some of the less pleasant things that you'll see in those type situations," Holland said. "Being prepared for that I think helps in emergency situations. And to have an understanding of that you won't be as nervous or frightened of it."

A second round of CERT training is scheduled to be held in September. The program is free thanks to a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Those interested should contact Jack Richardson at the Craighead County Office of Emergency Management at 870-933-4575 for more information.