By Patty Montagno
Rooms in Northplace Church in Sachse were dark last weekend and screams and pleas from “victims were heard as members of the Community Emergency Response Team scrambled through the building to save lives wherever they could.
Thankfully this wasn’t a real emergency. It was the 2016 CERT class completing their final scenario – the Capstone Drill.
The Capstone is a complex emergency preparedness exercise comprised of five distinct, but linked, component events. The task required significant logistical planning dividing larger groups into smaller groups to canvass the church.
Before the drill began, dozens of community volunteers assembled for the Moulage treatment, or simply put, the art of applying mock injuries for the purpose of training. The treatment may be as simple as applying premade rubber or latex wounds to the “victims” and also using special complex makeup and theatre techniques to provide elements of realism.
After having their wounds applied, the victims were scattered through the long dark hallways and classrooms of the church.
The CERT teams moved quickly throughout the quiet, artificial smoke filled building hearing the mock anguished screams of the victims of a simulated tornado. The victims that were scattered throughout the building had a variety of injuries designed to test the triage knowledge of team members who worked through the disaster drill. Most needed to be transported or escorted out by the various groups of trainees.
The 45 trainees were joined by current CERT trained members who volunteered to help with the day’s event. They stayed largely in the background allowing the trainees to work through the scenario without external help.
The mock emergency was a culmination of their recent preparedness sessions to train them to assist emergency response teams in doing damage assessment, accounting for residents and securing quick, accessible routes into their neighborhood.
For the new members, class topics leading up to this event included: Disaster Preparedness, Fire Safety, Disaster Medical Operations, Light Search and Rescue Operations, CERT Organization, Disaster Psychology, Terrorism and CERT, Course Review and Disaster Simulation.
CERT Director Carrie McMurdie said that she was pleased with the class and the large numbers of attendees.
“This was the largest basic CERT training class in the history of Sachse CERT,” she said. “We had 48 attendees that were very enthusiastic and engaging learners from all walks of life and backgrounds.”
For full story see The Sachse News at http://www.etypeservices.com/Sachse%20NewsID248/default.aspx