Jeep Safari crowds behind us, Moab gears up in April for
an event that promises to draw 500 people involved in disaster
assistance through the Community Emergency Response Team
The event is a disaster exercise to be held in Moab over the weekend
of April 8 and 9. While offering training to participants from around
the state of Utah, the event also offers an opportunity for the general
public to learn more about its local Citizen Corps.
“We’ve always had a Department of Homeland Security,” said
Saina, Grand County coordinator of CERT. “It just wasn’t a household
word until after 9-11.”
said the concept of CERT came from events during and following an earthquake
in Mexico that trapped an estimated 800 people.
“It’s not an uncommon thing for people to want to help during a rescue,” she
said. “During that disaster, 100 people died trying to save others.”
One of the definitions of a disaster — as opposed to an accident — is
that more people need help than government or emergency services can
take care of. A recent and local example is this year’s flooding
of St. George.
“Houses were collapsing and there was nothing anyone could do,” Saina
said. “The government can’t be everywhere, especially in rural areas.”
Grand County has held about three CERT trainings a year for the past
three years. About 70 people have either taken one class or completed
the training, Saina said, and she sends out 125 newsletters to those
who have shown an interest in the program.
training covers the basics of having and using a 72-hour kit (CERT recommends
having three kits – for home, office and car), fire suppression,
medical bandaging and back-board carrying, and light search and rescue.
Saina said the fire training teaches what kind of fire can be put out
with an extinguisher and when to get the fire depratment involved.
“If you’ve got people scattered around Moab who can know enough to
provide some assistance and not get hurt, then it can be valuable,” she
Moab has all of the ingredients for potential disaster, according to
Saina, including the river, canyons, flash flood and fire potential.
When an orchard burned on Williams Way the Moab Fire Department was “totally
tapped out,” she said. The County Building has had two bomb threats,
there have been two gas explosions, and a runaway truck.
“In a disaster you need people who can make reports, keep track of people
and keep people back,” she said. CERT people are trained to do that.”
members also helped a family while waiting for emergency personnel to
find their drowned boy.
“There’s not much you can do there except sit with people,” she
said. “CERT can certainly do that.”
Members can also help during parades.
“It takes 24 people to do a parade,” she said of traffic enforcers. “We’re
not EMTs and we’re not firefighters, but we have the basic training to
keep ourselves safe and maybe stay safe while rescuing someone else.”
On April 8 and 9 CERT members from around the state will gather for an
event called “A Weapons of Mass Destruction Disaster Exercise.” Saina
put together a brochure to assist visitors with their stay, including
restaurants and churches, and found venues on Center Street and at the
Grand County Senior Center. The brochure will also invite visitors to
take advantage of guided tours and trips while in Moab.
“We have the facilities to host this kind of event and I’m hoping
people stick around and enjoy Moab while they’re here,” Saina said. “This
could bring a quarter of a million dollars into the community.”
For more information about CERT, and upcoming training, contact Saina