BECKLEY - Several members of the Beckley Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) conducted a basic search and rescue training on Saturday.
"In times of emergency, it's not the paid rescuers or the professionals that actually fill out all of the needs - it's the volunteers," explained Chief Ranger Jeff West of the New River Gorge National River. "Without trained volunteers, we can't accomplish the missions that are out there."
West taught the CERT members the grid search and purposeful wandering techniques, used to find missing people. The team used basic search techniques to look for specific clues that West planted. This training was in conjunction with the classroom training members received earlier in the week.
Director of Emergency Services for Beckley Kevin Taylor said hands-on training is essential for CERT members. "It's one thing to watch a PowerPoint or read from a book," Taylor said. "But it's another to actually put those skills into use with a hands-on drill."
CERT members said they joined the team to be prepared and help others. "You never know what could come into the area of West Virginia or even Beckley, so it's just a great hands-on learning experience," said Kelli Anderson.
"It feels really good to be able to have the skills to help folks when - and if - something should happen," added Ann Worley.
Beckley CERT members receive continuous classroom and hands-on training throughout the year. Anyone interested in joining this team can contact Taylor at 304-256-0034. The next training class for new members will be May 18th.