Vero Beach Rock Ridge neighborhood ready for disaster after CERT training

VERO BEACH, Fla. - When natural disasters strike, there isn't always enough time to wait for help.

The Rock Bridge neighborhood in Vero Beach is ready if there is a hurricane or tornado.

Over a dozen residents from the neighborhood participated in Community Emergency Response Team training at Indian River County's Department of Emergency Services. The CERT program is possible through a grant from the Federal Government.

"They are going to be ready and be in place and respond on their own with their equipment and training we provide," Dale Justice, Indian River County's Emergency Management Director said.

Beth Casano says she was the squeamish type before going through the CERT training.

"If anybody had a big cut or was bleeding, I would be the first to scream and call my husband," Casano said.

Casano, the president of the Rock Bridge homeowner's association, decided to participate in the CERT training.

"There is so much fear today with natural disasters and the neatest thing is I don't have to be afraid anymore because now I know how to be aware," Casano said.

Justice says the class is 12 hours and free to the public. Much of it is hands on and a backpack of supplies is given to each participant.

"We search and rescue in a field where we look for dummies. Our group decided to turn our neighborhood's clubhouse into a command center. That is where we would meet if there is a disaster," Casano said.

Casano says nothing beats a trained professional, but if there is a hurricane or tornado, she wants her neighborhood to be ready until help arrives.

"It is one of the most helpful programs I've ever seen come out of the government. It makes us more resilient," Casano said.

For a list of area's offering CERT training and contact information, click here.

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