Lincoln Hills prepared, in case of disasters

By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
-A +A
Furniture in the Orchard Creek Lodge ballroom was turned upside down Oct. 14. Nothing was wrong, however. In this case, it was just a drill simulating an earthquake. Judy Bennett, an emergency-response team member in Sun City Lincoln Hills, said the Oct. 14 drill was part of a four-day Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, training. Bennett said Lincoln’s CERT is exclusive to Sun City residents. “CERT is under Citizen Corps, which is part of FEMA,” said Larry White, former chairman for Lincoln’s emergency response team. FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The team has been around for about four years, according to Nicki Koch, the current chairwoman since Sept. 10. She said that the team is available to help both Sun City and the city of Lincoln in case of disasters, fires, or missing people that need to be found. The team has helped out with a few fires, including last year’s Gladding McBean fire. The team has also helped with searches for missing people, the last time six or eight months ago. White said training topics last week included preparing for an emergency, different aspects of an emergency, how to extinguish small grass fires and performing emergency medical practices. The Oct. 14 drill took place so that trainees could practice the skills that they had learned during the class, White said. Inside the ballroom were “victims” waiting to be rescued by the students. Victims were Lincoln Hills residents, Sun City Lincoln Hills Community Association employees and emergency-response team members. Each victim was given an injury or mental state to be in, and in Bennett’s case, she had a broken left arm being crushed under a table. “Students didn’t know how we were told to act,” she said. “They had to come in and deal with it as they were coming into a real situation, not knowing what they’d find.” If a disaster were to occur in Lincoln, Koch said, the Lincoln police or fire chief would be in contact. Likewise, if she heard about a disaster or fire, she would call either chief to confirm. If a confirmed disaster or emergency were taking place, she would use a phone tree to contact team members to alert them that their help is needed. After last week’s training, there are now 47 CERT trained members, according to Bennett. “They’re great,” Lincoln Fire Chief Dave Whitt said. Whitt said that the CERT has helped the fire department with grass fires by making sure the firefighters stay hydrated and with searches for missing people. “We don’t have a lot of activity, (but) when something does happen they are ready to go,” Whitt said. “We enjoy their willingness to help, I really appreciate the fact that they want to do the right thing