GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Some Harrison County citizens went to an event as amateurs and left as certified members of the Community Emergency Response Team. The group was trained in emergency response, fire safety and more by professionals in the field at the Lyman Senior Center in Gulfport on Saturday.
Members of The Harrison County Retired Senior Volunteer Program got a hands on look at how crucial the job of a first responder is.
Through both demonstration and special presentations, the group brushed up on what to do in case of an emergency.
"We are very blessed to have a very strong Harrison County RSVP Program, and it's so important for the volunteers to step up to the plate, meet our critical needs and in our community and helping first responders when needed," said Program Leader Mag Hollands.
Sure, calling an ambulance is always a good idea, but program leaders say having someone on hand in the community with the knowledge to help others in their time of need is crucial.
"It's very important that we go out into our communities and especially help the most vulnerable in times of need or in disasters," said Hollands.
To cover all areas of disaster, there were even representatives on hand from the local fire department to offer advice.
"We go around we help in the community. We put on little projects to help train for home safety, fire safety. Anything we can do to promote safety in the community whether it be fire or otherwise," said Norman Saucier, Saucier Fire Department.
"This actually gives them a hands on experience of fighting an actual fire. They get to come in and experience the heat of an actual flame. A lot of people never get to see it," said Saucier.
Not only do organizers want these volunteers to apply what they learned Saturday in their everyday lives, but they also want them to encourage others in the community to become certified, as well.
"I hope these volunteers go out into their individual communities and build and this program and make build bigger CERT teams, and as we know after Katrina, we definitely need that," said Hollands.
So if you find yourself in need, those men and women want you to know that you can depend on people like them.