By Jackie Stone

Killeen Daily Herald

A group of Killeen residents who hope to lend a hand in future emergencies will gather Saturday morning on the south side of town to put into practice triage, search and rescue and other emergency skills they have learned through a city volunteer program.

The Southwest Bell/Killeen Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, will meet at 8:15 a.m. to begin the organization's annual training exercise.

The group has monthly meetings and conducts smaller exercises and drills every quarter, but Saturday's exercise is the largest one, said Chad Berg, the city's coordinator of emergency management and homeland security.

The CERT program is run out of the city's office of emergency management, but it is a local chapter of a national program.

"It is a volunteer program that is designed and developed to allow the citizens of Killeen to have a role in emergency preparedness, response and recovery," Berg said.

Volunteers learn skills to help organize response, bandage wounds, triage victims and more.

Richard Diller said he has been a volunteer with CERT since it was first organized in 2003. Diller said he wants to get the word out about CERT to let people know it's available and that there are people who want to help the community.

"Particularly on TV, you listen to robberies and murders, and I think it would be helpful for people in the community to know there are people out here who train to help people in a disaster, all of which helps to make the area a little bit safer," he said.

Diller said the highlight event Saturday will be an air rescue helicopter on hand to give volunteers experience working with those crews.

Diller estimated that 50 to 60 CERT volunteers will be on hand Saturday morning to act as both rescuers and victims in the exercise's simulations. Anyone wanting to learn more is welcome to come, he said.

"If someone wanted to come, we'd welcome them with open arms. It's not terribly easy to get volunteers to sign up for things these days. We want to say to people, if nothing else,

The exercise will be at 567 Llewellyn Lane in Killeen.

For more information about CERT, go to

Contact Jackie Stone at or (254) 501-7548. Follow her on Twitter at KDHcityeditor.

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