Trainees become 'CERTified' after disaster drill

COOS BAY, Ore.-- The newest members of the Coos County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) completed their CERTification Saturday.

The new team members are now trained in rescue techniques for a number of disaster scenarios that could take place on the South Coast.

"We train for all sorts of disasters, but an earthquake is what seems like the most likely thing to happen here," said Mikel Chavez, CERT disaster scenario coordinator. "We want them to be ready for everything though."

The scenario set up for the team over the weekend was a simulated earthquake at a construction site. The team members had to rescue actors that were bloodied, and at times, yelling at them.

"They're going to be bloodied, and they are actors. So they are going to be playing the part," Chavez said before the drill. "Our CERT trainees, who've spent the last several weeks in training with instructors educating them on the different aspects of CERT, will go and find them."

The end of the drill also marked graduation day. After a critique, the new members of CERT are now ready to be called upon in an emergency to help first responders with urban search and rescue efforts.

"They will receive a certificate," Chavez said. "They've gone through 22 hours of training, and they'll be able to utilize it in this disaster scenario. If there is a ever a disaster that occures, they'll be able to utilize it then as well."