Community Prepares for Disasters

Community Prepares for Disasters
By: Ryan Tate

PORTAGEVILLE, MO --The firehouse in Portageville is the site where crews leave to save lives. On Tuesdays, it is the site where people learn how to save lives.
The Community Emergency Response Team, or C.E.R.T., trains people in the firehouse to help protect themselves and each other in case of a disaster.
"In the event of an earthquake or tornado, we won't get assistance for days or weeks," Vince Berry said. Berry is the C.E.R.T. leader for Portageville. He believes all of the rescue efforts will be concentrated on more populous areas.
For four weeks, people from across the Heartland travel to Portageville to get training in disaster preparedness, disaster psychology, medical operations and search and rescue techniques.
"The training you get here will help decide if you're a disaster victim or a survivor," Berry said.
Sharon Stelling works with the elderly in four Heartland Counties. She travels more than sixty miles from Poplar Bluff to Portageville to become certified in disaster training.
"I hope to make and give out pamphlets for people. It will be what they need to do in their home in case a natural disaster hits," Stelling said. "I think local resources will be overwhelmed in a disaster and they won't be able to get to us in time.