By Mary O’KEEFE
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) out of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station held a training drill recently at St. Luke’s of the Mountains. CERT trains community members in disaster preparedness in order to have an organized response in emergency situations.
Coordinators Paul and Lisa Dutton taught the class how to respond to several types of emergencies ranging from fires to earthquakes. The training is over a five-day period culminating in a final drill when the volunteers’ skills are put to the test.
For the drill local students volunteered to be “victims” of a mock disaster at the Fire House youth center. Trainees used all their newly acquired skills as they entered the building, calling out to those in need. Once victims were found they were assessed and transported to a triage area.
Although it was a drill, the volunteer victims made the scene very real, with kids crying for help and others acting as if in shock. The trainees got a sample of what it would be like to respond to a real disaster situation.
The Duttons are well known for their training and how well they prepare CERT teams. They partner with the American Red Cross and work with other agencies under the guidance of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept.-Crescenta Valley Station. At the recent drill, the Duttons had observers from CERT teams from outside the area to see how CV CERT trains.