GREAT FALLS — If an emergency or disaster happens in your area, do you know how to assist agencies in their response? Training was held on Wednesday in Great Falls for members of the Community Emergency Response Team, and scheduled to last through Friday, to help people prepare.
With notes and books spread out in front of them, around a dozen people sat at tables and listened Wednesday afternoon as a Great Falls CERT member talked about examples of what members can do when people show up wanting to help with the response to a disaster or emergency.
"We've been in a season of a lot of unprecedented things,” CERT training participant Kathy Workman said. "I just saw it as an opportunity to learn some skills that you hope you never need but if you need them you're happy to know what to do."
Great Falls CERT interim president Jenny Watson said those skills are wide-ranging.
"They learn a little first aid, they learn light search and rescue. Tomorrow, we're going to be putting out a small fire with fire extinguishers,” Watson explained.
No matter what training they receive, though, CERT members can play an important role during a response.
"One of the most recent things we did, it wasn't helping the fire department but it helped with the forest fires and the firefighters fighting those. It was simple, it wasn't an emergency response thing, but we helped take the food to those firefighters for a few days,” Watson said.
For Workman, the training she received Wednesday gave her confidence the training as a whole would be very beneficial.
"I can see that there's going to be a lot of information they're going to share. Probably more of an overview that might send me into some deeper research into some other areas, but definitely the importance of the teamwork and being prepared for things,” said Workman.
If you weren’t able to make the training but would like to learn more about CERT or help the team out there are monthly meetings you can attend. They are held at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of every month at the Department of Emergency Services building in Great Falls at 521 1st Avenue NW. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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