As cries for help rang out and chaos ensued, a group of local youth worked diligently to meet the needs of the victims.

While this may have been a mock emergency, it was a very serious matter for those learning to respond to crisis.

This was the scene Sunday afternoon at the Warren County Health Department, during the final test of the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Teen Certification program.

A couple dozen Warren County youth dedicated 20 hours of their weekend over a three-day period to learn how to respond in a disaster situation.

Fourteen-year-old Ashton Dabbs feels prepared to help those in need after adding to the knowledge he already had as the son of a firefighter.

“I learned more about how to treat burns and how to assist with carrying somebody out on the stretcher,” said Ashton. “I like the medical aspects of going up to the patient, asking them what’s hurting and if they’ve been in and out of consciousness.”

Ashton aspires to follow in the path of the emergency personnel he spends much of his time around.

“My whole life I’ve just wanted to help people,” said Ashton.

CERT Director Mark Rosenblum guided the crew through a multitude of scenarios, teaching how to complete search and rescue efforts with minimal resources, such as making a splint with common household items that might end up as debris.

“I learned how to wrap gauze and what to do with service animals, how to make splints,” recalled Reese Ledgerwood following the program. “If something happens in Warrenton and people are hurt we could help those who are hurt around us and we can help them find people.”

Warren County Emergency Management Director Mike Daniels said he wants to educate as many people as possible on how to respond in a disaster.

“We’re so accustomed to calling 911 for help, but if we had a major earthquake or tornado strike Warren County, our first responders are going to be tied up with numerous calls and not able to answer all the calls.”

Daniels said the community has reaped the benefits of a similar adult program it hosted in 2004.

“About 10 years ago we had straight-line winds come through the county and Warrenton Fire was running numerous calls for downed power lines,” said Daniels. “In that instance, the CERT team was deployed to those locations to watch over the power lines until the power company could get there.”

Daniels saiod the county intends to hold another CERT course in the spring of 2020.

“The whole concept behind the CERT program is to train lay citizens basic first aid, search and rescue and fire suppression, so they can take care of their families, neighbors and the community, or in this case, their schools,” said Daniels.

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