Saucier Residents Certified As First Responders

More than a dozen residents in one North Harrison County neighborhood are now better prepared should a disaster strike.

That's because they're now certified first responders after receiving training in connection with the Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT.

Sixteen Palmer Creek Estates residents listened closely as they were advised on how to handle emergency situations in their area.

"What we're doing is training these people in this community to be able to respond in case of tornado, hurricane, fire, any kind of natural disaster, as long as man-made disasters, as well," says Frank Baskett with the Harrison County Sheriff's Department.

Resident Tucker Henry has already put the training to use.

He says he helped a man involved in an Ocean Springs car accident just two weeks ago.

"I made sure that he could move before I left. I made sure that he could talk, and I made sure that he was going to be all right. And I took down triage, I made a mental note on what all his condition was, and seeing if there was anything else I could help with," says Tucker.

Along with classroom instruction, these CERT members are being trained in light search and rescue, fire prevention and fire fighting, all skills that would come in handy should a disaster strike this rural neighborhood.

"We're cut off from so much of the city, Gulfport and Biloxi and that, that if we had a hurricane or floods or whatever, it would take a long time for them to get to us. And being the development captain for the neighborhood watch, I know several of the people that are disabled in the neighborhood and I know they're going to need help," says CERT Member Dan Miller.

And having these skills can ultimately mean the difference between life and death, especially in a situation where every second counts.

The trainees received their certificates of completion Saturday.

The training was funded by a Citizens' Corp grant, through the state's homeland security program.