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Preparing for disaster: Ucon holds mock drill

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: Feb 09 2013 08:37:00 PM CST

The Ucon community came together to perform a real to life mock disaster in the city.

UCON, Idaho -

The Ucon community came together to perform a real to life mock disaster in the city.

Organizers said this inaugural drill helps the town learn how to work together in the event of an extended power outage, a natural disaster, or a winter storm.

"Today we will treat it as if it were a real scenario," said Lt. William Sharp with the Ucon Fire Department. 

The disaster scenario the Ucon Fire Department and the Community Emergency Response Team practiced today was very real to the area, moreso than an earthquake. 

A large winter storm has dumped 3 feet of snow, making traveling nearly impossible, causing fallen trees and power outages that have been staged to last about 18-24 hours. 

"I think we're seeing this kind of scenario unfolding back east. It's something where we've had power outages before in Ucon and this part of Idaho Falls. It's very important," said Sharp.

How it works is CERT divides into teams and patrols an assigned part of town. Their job is to help out community members, the fire department, even law enforcement. 

Some Ucon residents chose to help out with the drill by acting out mock scenarios and the appropriate agency would respond. 

"That's what we try to do in these, is make them as realistic as possible so people get some hands-on experience," said Kim Nielson, CERT member.

Both CERT and the Ucon Fire Department are volunteer-based. The people who participated today, donated their time and talent to ensure if an emergency were to happen, the community would be prepared. 

Organizers said the successes and possible shortcomings of the response efforts will be evaluated.

In the Ucon area, there are about 120 certified CERT members.

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