Great Utah Shakeout trains at Dixie Regional; STGnews Videocast

Volunteers and organizations practice a simulated shelter collapse during the Great Utah Shakeout, St. George Utah, April 17, 2014 | Photo by Amber Green, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – The annual Great Utah ShakeOut – which helps individuals, families and organizations to prepare, survive and recover from large earthquakes – involved training many places statewide Thursday, one being at Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George.

The exercise at Dixie Regional was used to simulate what it would be like to work in an American Red Cross shelter operation. The drill specifically focused on a shelter collapse in the event of an earthquake.

The exercise was made possible with the collaboration of a dozen entities and over 100 participants, including volunteers. The event was successful and a valuable experience, said Paul Dunsdon, Disaster Program Manager for the American Red Cross in Southern Utah.

“Without this type of training and exercise, you really don’t know what to plan for,” Dunsdon said.

The Community Emergency Response Team was one of the organizations helping with the drill. They are designed to help educate people about disaster preparedness and how to respond in hazardous situations.

“We learn to work together with camaraderie with other agencies,” Terry Olsen, a member of the Community Emergency Response Team, said. “It’s people helping people.”

Story continues below. Viewer advisory: The exercise in this video is a simulation.

Videocast by Amber Green, St. George News

Groups such as the American Red Cross, Dixie Regional Medical Center, Community Emergency Response Team, St. George Fire Department, Dixie Ambulance Services, SunTran bus service, St. George Police Department, Amateur Radio Emergency Service and the Washington County Economic Opportunity Council worked together – not only to make the event possible, but also to train.

Organizations practice medical training during exercise | Photo by Amber Green, St. George News
Organizations practice medical training during exercise | Photo by Amber Green, St. George News

Armarose Cesal, a nursing student at Dixie State University, was a volunteer for the event.

“It’s really important for health care teams to know how to react in an emergency  situation when there’s an actual building collapse,” Cesal said. “They need to know what to do and how to do it really fast so that you can save more people.”

The work that that was performed will help save lives, Dunsdon said, and every participant should consider himself or herself a hero.

“You can sit behind a desk and think what might happen,” Dunsdon said, “but until you actually get out and exercise and try, you really don’t get a full comprehension of what your needs are.”

Other chapters in the state including Park City, Provo and Salt Lake City also participated in the Great Utah ShakeOut. Each city had a similar situation and communicated their actions back to headquarters.

To learn more about natural disaster preparedness, visit The Great Utah ShakeOut.

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1 Comment

  • Paul Dunsdon April 17, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    I apologize for not correctly recognizing our partner agency Gold Cross Ambulance. They did a fantastic job and it was an amazing experience for the entire American Red Cross team. It is truly an honor to serve our community and we invite fellow Utahns to consider joining the American Red Cross. Many positions are available to serve as a volunteer in the planning for, preparation of and recovery from disaster. You can even train locally to deploy nationally…

    Those who want to volunteer or make a financial contribution to disaster response can visit or contact the Disaster Program Manager at 435-674-4440 or [email protected] to support The American Red Cross Disaster Response. Every single dollar and every single volunteer brings hope and relief to people in need.

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