INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The disaster in Moore, Okla., has many people in Indiana thinking: are we ready if a large-scale disaster, like that EF-5 tornado, would strike?
It's not only emergency responders and officials who are thinking that. It's also members of CERT, or Community Emergency Response Teams.
CERT is a national program that's adapted in individual counties throughout Indiana. It's designed to train civilian volunteers to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations, because they're often there before emergency responders.
"Your responders are not going to be able to get there right away, as we've seen in Moore, because of all the debris that's out there. If the CERT teams inside the community can get there, we can save lives," said Kim Douglas, a Marion County CERT volunteer.
There are 1,700 CERT volunteers in Marion County alone. They've gone through disaster training and have the supplies to help.
"Being able to help your neighbors right away, helping them with medical things, getting them out of the debris," explained Douglas. "We could save a life by doing that."
After the tornado in Moore, Okla., fire could be seen in places.
"Gas was not shut off there, there was a fire. Our CERT members are trained … That's one of the first things we do," Douglas said.
They are trained to use a wrench to turn off utilities. They are trained in first aid, and how to prioritize injured people for when emergency responders arrive.
"We consider it a force multiplier," said Elia James, with the Marion County Division of Homeland Security. "I think more and more people are looking at this training as very important. There are certain things that we teach during the training, that they could use in their own homes."
CERT members most recently responded during that Christmastime blizzard last year , when the Marion County Emergency Operations Center opened. They stayed all night, helping wherever needed.
It's a program leaders say is growing. For the past three or four years, more than 200 people were trained in Marion County each year.
"We need to be prepared for these disasters. The better prepared we are, the more lives we're going to save," said Douglas.
CERT is a national volunteer program. It's been around this area for years and is in many other counties as well. If you're interested, the next training session starts in September. You can find information on that, here.
Greenfield police officers are spending their Sunday giving 41 deserving children a day out on the town for the holidays.
A winter weather advisory was issued for Wayne, Union, Switzerland, Ripley, Ohio, Franklin, Fayette and Dearborn counties on Saturday night.
IMPD officials say a 3-year-old boy has died after he was shot in the head Saturday evening.