CERT participates in tri-annual ABIA training


On April 2, the Certified Emergency Response Team participated in Austin-Bergstrom International Airport training. Every three years, the airport is required to simulate a plane crash in order to ensure that the crew is ready for any situation.

“It’s a tri-annual drill that lets the EMS, fire department and hospital test out their new equipment and to prepare for any disasters,” officer sophomore Allison Huynh said. “Each of [the CERT members] volunteered as victims who were assigned  a role with different injuries that the emergency response teams had to treat.”

The CERT members were covered in fake blood and moulage (a French word for “makeup”) to make the scenarios as realistic as possible.

“The ABIA closed off a section of the airport just for the training,” Allison said. “To make the scene even more realistic, they took an old cargo plane and completely chopped off the tail. They had suitcases and fake body parts sprawled around the plane to simulate debris.”

A few volunteers were asked to play the role of distressed family members at baggage claim. This, however, was not in a closed off area.

“It was pretty funny actually,” Allison said. “Actual people in the airport had no idea what was going on. All they saw was a bunch of people crying and emergency team members trying to console them. I guess they thought there was a real crisis or something.”

A few lucky students were able to be transported in the new AmBus to one of the three hospitals that participated in the drill. The AmBus can carry 20 patients at a time. Rather than just one stretcher in the back of the bus, the cots were built into 3three ier bunk beds to maximize space.

“My injury was lower back pain, so I was paralyzed,” Allison said. “They strapped me to a backboard because I couldn’t move from the waist down. I was put in a neck brace and my vitals were taken with actual equipment.”

The CERT team is involved with many training opportunities in order to learn more about disaster response. This year alone, the club has been invited to more than eight events.

“Our goal is to have as many students trained in disaster response incase of emergencies,” Allison said. “Not only is it educational, but it is really fun, too.”