CERT students take on final tornado drill to become members

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SHERMAN, TX -- Disasters like Tropical Storm Issac can strike anywhere at any time. Now, one group of Texomans will be ready to help whether it is here at home or hundreds of miles away.

A tornado shook the TCOG building in Grayson County Tuesday evening and while it was not a real disaster CERT students were prepared as if it was acting fast to rescue mock victims.

This drill was the final task CERT students like Chuck Ozendes had to complete before becoming an official member of the program. Ozendes says if a real tornado touches down this training could help him save lives.

"Protect my neighborhood, my family," Ozendes said.

Grayson County Volunteer Coordinator Jessie Liles says this is the 5th class to graduate and now CERT has about 140 members. He says after eight months of training volunteers are on their toes, ready to react to almost any situation.

"We can be activated and we can do anything from crowd control, to triage and minor first aid, to whatever is needed," Liles said.

Amateur radio operators are also part of the teams and operator Rick Simmons says they play a vital role.

"In a real live event amateur radio people provide communication assistance to the various teams and for the headquarters, the instant control command all the way back up to the county EOC," Simmons said.

Liles says any Grayson County resident who is over the age of 18 can become CERT certified, and Ozendes urges everyone who can to get the valuable training.

"The more people that are involved in this the better, the better off the whole community is as a whole," Ozendes said.

The next class will begin the 2nd Tuesday of January 2013.

For more information about CERT and how you can get involved visit Grayson County's website at the link below.


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