CERT volunteers train with emergency simulations

EUGENE, Ore. - A new wave of emergency response volunteers put their recently learned skills to the test Saturday in a round of simulations.

"By learning how to take care of themselves and their family and their neighbors, it lessens the load on professional responders in the event of a disaster," said Mark Walker, who trains volunteers for FEMA's Community Emergency Response Teams.

"They're not being trained as firefighters, they're learning how to take of the lower end jobs firefighters may have to do."

So if there's a flood threat, CERT volunteers can fill sandbags. In an earthquake, they can perform building assessments and triage patients.

"We all should know how to take care of not only ourselves, but also members of our community," said CERT student Carol Ford.

Students said they are honored to know they could now lend a hand to their neighbors in a time of crisis.

"Personal preparedness and preparedness for your family, because family units that are prepared don't become a rescue problem for the professionals down the road," said Walker.