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Apr 17, 2019

Earthquakes can and do happen in southern Nevada. Nearly 25 earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater have struck Nevada since the 1840s. There are over 1,500 potential earthquake faults in the state and it really isn’t a matter of if but when a larger earthquake will strike.

To help evaluate our readiness to respond in the event of a serious earthquake, nearly 50 CERT volunteers had the opportunity to practice their life-saving skills on April 13 at the second annual Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) exercise. The day-long event took place at the Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Training Center. The volunteers began the day with a refresher CERT course that focused on fire suppression, medical operations and the Incident Command System.

After lunch, the exercise began with a mock news report of an earthquake under Frenchman Mountain. The volunteers dispatched to the Incident Command Post, where they were organized into teams for search and rescue, medical operations and fire suppression. Once sent into the field of play, the teams encountered “damaged” buildings, fires and more than 70 actors who portrayed injured victims (with realistic-looking injuries). The exercise lasted approximately two hours.

“Our volunteers deserve the utmost credit,” said Southern Nevada CERT Program Specialist Mary Camin. “Their commitment, effort and dedication are what make the Southern Nevada CERT program and this exercise possible.”

Thanks to all of the players as well as the volunteers provided by Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, the city of Las Vegas Marshal’s Office, the American Red Cross of Southern Nevada, UNLV, EMS Training Center of Southern Nevada and Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Special thanks to Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Gary Suan for providing access to the Fire Training Center as well as to Firehouse Subs for providing food to everyone involved.