CERT training grads: 'You can handle any of these situations'

EUGENE, Ore. -- After four weeks of Community Emergency Response Training courses, the 52 students got a chance to show off their skills in disaster exercises.

Jason York, Eugene's emergency manager, said their new class demonstrated their effectiveness as a team in Saturday's demonstration.

"(It's) training that is encouraging people to go out and be prepared in their communities, so if a disaster does happen and our responders are overwhelmed, then they can take care of themselves and their neighbors and help the city as a whole recover," said York.

The new CERT members put their skillset to the test with disaster simulations that required them to fight fires, clear debris and treat potential victims with realistic injuries.

"We're not teaching anything extreme. We're just teaching people those real simple skills that they can take care of themselves and take care of other people," said York.

"The core of the training is, if you learn how to build a team and you learn these basic leadership structures, and how to function you can handle any of these situations."

While Saturday's exercise wasn't open to the public, the group is acceptiong volunteers who would like to be "victims" for the demonstrations. Those interested can call 541-682-5665 or send an email to the CERT program.