Contact: Joe Vargo, Perris Public Information Officer
Phone: 951-956-2120
jvargo@cityofperris.org

CERT Training is Realistic and Worthwhile

Stephanie Gutierrez prepares a sling for City Fire Inspector Eric Cadden
Stephanie Gutierrez prepares a sling for City Fire Inspector Eric Cadden.

A group of City employees and Perris Valley residents underwent three days of intensive training to help them survive a natural or man-made disaster.

The City-sponsored Community Emergency Response Training took about 20 participants through a variety of calamities—fires, floods, earthquakes and bus crashes.

The idea was to help them get through the first crucial minutes or hours after a major incident, a time when professional emergency responders likely would be too busy to respond to their home or place of employment.

The three-day workshop was divided into classroom lectures, video presentations and hands-on training.

They learned about how to create defensible space around their homes to stave off brush fires, the importance of storing water, flashlights and non-perishable foods in case of a major temblor strikes the Inland Empire, how to spot signs
of dehydration and basic first-aid.

A lifelike dummy helped the students get through the Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) course
A lifelike dummy helped the students get through the Community Emergency Response Training (CERT).

The class practiced moving non- ambulatory patients, learned how to bandage injuries, the proper techniques to making an effective sling and practiced dousing flames with fire extinguishers.

Students then moved to the old Perris Police Station on 4th Street where simulated evacuating injured people from a confined space. CERT members performed the search and rescue and learned how to access the injuries. High school students wearing realistic makeup filled in for real victims.

City worker Stephanie Gutierrez said the CERT training was intense, realistic and worthwhile. She said the on-hands exercises forced students to work together as a team. That was never more in evidence than during the evacuation of the police station.

“What struck me most was how chaotic the situation was,” she said. “During a real emergency, things will get crazy.”

Gutierrez said students received a backpack of emergency equipment at the end of the training. It contains goggles, glow sticks, a helmet whistle.

“I keep it in the back of the car,” she said.

The next CERT training is scheduled for later this year. More information: 951-9436603