Squeezing through the stairwell doorway, a group of six researchers from the National Weather Center alternate walking down the stairs carrying an injured person to safety. Hours before they applied a tourniquet to a coworker and learned other disaster medical operations.
The group was not participating in a drill but training to be a Community Emergency Response Team. CERT is a national program dedicated to educating people about disaster preparedness, including hazards such as fire safety, light search and rescue, and disaster medical operations.
Composed of researchers from the University of Oklahoma Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies, National Weather Service, NOAA’s Warning Decision Training Division, the Radar Operations Center, and several other organizations, participants completed 24-hours in CERT training through Oklahoma’s course.
Jill Hardy, OU CIMMS researcher with WDTD, said she completed CERT training five years ago, receiving several safety items, like a helmet, mask and bandages. Hardy said she wore her helmet when a tornado hit near her home several years ago and she was properly trained to help those with light medical needs until first responders were able to get to the scene.
CERT trains participants to respond safely, responsibly and effectively to emergency situations. Training emphasizes the responding to situations as a team and how to accurately help others when disaster strikes but first responders are not yet on the scene.
“As meteorologists conducting remote field projects, we may need to be able to help the community as first responders travel to the scene,” she said. “CERT is about working as a team, with a team coordinator and not deploying unless called upon but if needed, we can help during stressful situations.”
Training includes disaster preparedness, fire suppression, medical operations and a disaster simulation.
“The instructors brought in experts for each learning topic,” Hardy said. “We heard from the City of Norman Fire Marshal, the director of the Oklahoma Department of Homeland Security, emergency medical technicians – it is nice to learn such valuable information with hands-on practice.”
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