The Bridgeport, West Virginia, Department of Emergency Services held an emergency response training course on Tuesday for approximately 20 members of the community.
The meeting was the first of three meant to teach the public the basics of disaster response in order to form as Community Emergency Response Team, WBOY reports.
"We take individuals or organizations in the community and teach the basics of disaster response, recovery and preparedness," Bridgeport Director of Emergency Services Shaunda Rauch said, according to WBOY. "We're teaching them basic triage, which is how they can sort and know who needs immediate attention and who needs delayed attention. The basics of first aid and CPR and fire suppression."
The program is meant to prepare the community for all types of disasters through education and simulated response.
"It's one thing to have knowledge or hear about something, and you can watch a Powerpoint or read it in a book but when you actually have to put those skills into practice you find out it's a little bit different than what someone was telling you," Rauch said, WBOY reports. "To be able to practice and exercise what you learned helps to engrain it in your mind."
Rauch said having community members trained and available to assist with emergency response is vital for the community.
"The scope is so beyond of what we are capable of responding to," Rauch said, according to WBOY. "We want to help everyone immediately but that's not the reality of the situation so by doing this we are empowering the individual citizen to take care of themselves and their family and that is priceless."
The second class was held on Thursday, and the final class will be held on March 11.