Twenty participants completed training Saturday as the state’s first city-based Community Emergency Response Team.
The Greenbrier group banded together following the flooding disaster that left Faulkner County and other portions of Arkansas in a state of emergency earlier this year.
“This is a dream come true,” CERT Leader and Greenbrier Alderman Joyce Johnson said Saturday after the group completed the final scenario at the Faulkner County Office of Emergency Management (FCOEM).
Greenbrier residents formed together following the crisis at Greenbrier Gardens Apartments during the April floods.
Some participants who completed CERT training Saturday were personally affected by the Greenbrier Gardens incident and others wanted to know how to help so they could be on call for any future disasters within the Greenbrier Fire District.
The Greenbrier Gardens incident left more than 20 residents displaced due to flooding damage. As waters rose into the apartments, many residents did not receive immediate aid.
Gary Smith, a now-trained CERT member, said he believes the Greenbrier CERT team will make a difference in the community and hopes to inspire other communities to band together.
“The key is the greater good for the people,” he said. “Other communities could really benefit from something like this, not just Greenbrier but the whole county should look into this.”
Timi Bryan, who received CERT training prior to the Greenbrier community initiative, decided to undergo training a second time as both a refresher and to be an aid to the city’s team.
“This is extremely beneficial. We really need this in Greenbrier, especially after the flooding,” she said Saturday.
The team attended six training courses covering fire scenarios, basic triage, search and rescue techniques and learned other emergency response skills.
FCOEM staff applauded the Greenbrier group for their initiative and said the team worked well together.
“You guys are a team,” CERT Instructor Eric Duvall said. “This isn’t like the other classes I’ve done … When you get back to Greenbrier, keep training. Don’t stop what you’re doing.”
CERT Instructor Tyler Lachowsky said each of the four teams trained over the four-week course performed well during Saturday’s final scenario.
Johnson said the group will continue meeting every two months “or whatever the team sees fit” so that members will be prepared in the event they should be called out to aid the community.
The team will work as an arm to the Greenbrier Fire Department and will not be put in harms way.