What would you do if there was a disaster and you dialed 911 and all the emergency responders were busy? Because emergency personnel can get stretched pretty thin in the event of a disaster, the Natrona County Emergency Management Office is offering a 9-week disaster preparedness course that starts this (Thursday) evening.

Citizens can be prepared:

"The Community Emergency Response Team training is a national program that was started in 1999 here in Natrona County, and basically it focuses on taking ordinary citizens, training them on how to take care of themselves, their family, others in their community when a disaster hits or a large event hits in our community."

Deputy Emergency Response Coordinator Theresa Simpson said this is the 34th session of the Community Emergency Response Team classes. The disaster preparedness course is free but space is limited.

Each class builds upon the prior:

"We start out talking a little bit about disaster preparedness; we go into personal preparedness, fire suppression; we go into disaster medical operation, basically first aid, and then we go into light search and rescue, how do we rescue people who are trapped under debris, and then we finish it out with disaster psychology and terrorism."

Ms. Simpson said that when you complete the course, you get a certificate and can be someone the sheriff's office will call if they need trained volunteers.

Sheriff's Office, second floor:

"They are held at the Hall of Justice, 201 North David. We begin the class at 6 pm. It's for two, two and a half hours, on Thursday nights for nine weeks, and we finish up on November 17th."

For more information, you can call the Natrona County Emergency Management Office at 235-9205.