Apr 14, 2011 7:18 PM by Bethany Tucker, KSBY News

Santa Maria fire crews train community members how to respond to disasters

Santa Maria City fire crews are busy training some local residents to respond to disasters.

The fire department is teaming up with Allan Hancock College for CERT training, or Community Emergency Response Training. Thursday was the second of three days of training, which was all about search and rescue. Participants learned those skills at the old Gottschalk's building at the Santa Maria Town Center. Over the three days of training, they'll also learn how to use fire extinguishers, take care of utilities during emergencies and put together emergency kits.

"The hope is they're going to be able to take care of themselves, take care of their family and then they'll also be able to help their neighbors," said Battalion Chief Dan Orr of the Santa Maria City Fire Department. "That's truly, from a fire department perspective, what our hope is."

The Santa Maria City Fire Department has only 13 firefighters on duty at a time, so crews say in a major disaster there is a strong possibility that these trained community members will be put to use. "This is a town of 100,000 people. Thirteen firefighters aren't going to do a whole lot for a town of 100,000 folks," said Orr. "So it's really important these kids get the chance to see this and learn some of these life skills."

To learn more about a CERT program near you, click here.


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