Volunteers looking to enhance their emergency response skills got a chance to do so during a mock disaster scenario on Thursday, May 10.
The Charlottesville, University of Virginia, Albemarle Community Emergency Response Team, better known as CERT, held its team training for beginners to bump their skills up to the next level.
Each year, the group hosts a training session where volunteers are given a disaster situation and have to respond.
On Thursday, they didn't have to pretend too much since their scenario assignment was extreme weather conditions.
This was planned weeks in advance, but it just so happened that the group was assigned a weather scenario that many people in the Charlottesville area actually experienced earlier in the day.
The afternoon storm cleared up just in time for the training at Walnut Creek Park in Albemarle County.
Teams were then assigned different responsibilities like search and rescue, medical operations, and group organization. Different staff members also pretended to be victims who’d sustained various injuries.
“A lot of these pieces really include a lot of critical thinking, delegating roles and responsibilities, and trying to organize a group of people,” says Allison Farole, the emergency management coordinator. “That's why it's very simplified, so that they can really take the time to focus on that."
Each volunteer took on the challenge as if it was a real life disaster scene.
The goal of the training is not only for volunteers to practice the skills they're taught during their basic training, but also to get to know others in the field prior to any real emergency situations.
The Community Emergency Response Team aims to hold these training sessions twice a year.