There was blood, injuries, and lots and lots of people needing medical attention. The 3rd annual Santa Barbara County CERT drill provided real world disaster preparedness training for citizens from throughout the Central Coast. Julie Jeakle, Carpinteria Emergency Services Coordinator, said “It’s important to prepare. The fact is we never know when a disaster will happen, so it’s important to be ready if it ever does.”
Staged in a warehouse in Carpinteria, the drill was designed to highlight key skills in fire suppression, medical operations, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster psychology. Jim Caesar, UCSB Emergency Manager Coordinator, said “They don’t know each other so it really comes down to teamwork, which is so important in the case of an emergency.”
And while it’s impossible to fully simulate a true disaster, the reality based scenario was as close to reality as the Committee could get. “We’ve linked together Spanish with non-Spanish speakers, so it becomes an exercise in communication. And the fact is that’s a reflection of where we live and our community,” Jeakle said.
Participants drew upon knowledge and skills they learned from the program’s 24 hour training course. When the fire department arrived to take over the scene, the transition and the information flow couldn’t have been smoother. Caesar said “It really is a countywide exercise, so people from the North can come down here and help out if needed and we can go up there if needed. It’s what makes it special. “