Pasadena residents and city workers practiced putting out fires and pulling a mock victim to safety Saturday in the city's first-ever Community Emergency Response Team Training.
"We have twice as many wildfires this time of year than we did last year," said Emergency Management Coordinator Lisa Derderian. "That really brings the message that we're teaching today closer to home: You need to be prepared."
The training, which follows Federal Emergency Management Agency curriculum, took place at Fire Station 33 on North Lake Avenue in Pasadena. The city has previously partnered with neighboring communities to host similar trainings, but this is the first time it has hosted one on its own.
Saturday's session was attended by 24 people. Attendees will be certified and eligible to join a local network that will assist Pasadena and surrounding communities during emergency events such as fires or earthquakes.
In Pasadena, 50 firefighters typically work each shift. Derderian says city resources often aren't enough in the case of a wildfire, flood or major earthquake, and that trained community members can play a critical role.
"They're a valuable asset to emergency personnel to supplement a lot of the things that we will be overwhelmed with during a disaster," Derderian said.
Pasadena resident Anthony Indolino attended the training. He led a small team of fellow participants as they worked to free a mock victim who was trapped underneath a 300-pound water barricade.
"It's been very educational," said Indolino, adding that since the training started, he's examined his home fire extinguishers to make sure they're in good locations and working properly: "Be prepared no matter what, have everything in order."
Saturday's session concluded five days of training totaling 24 hours. The curriculum covered everything from kitchen fire safety procedures to instructions for handling a terrorism event.
All participants received backpacks loaded with tools such as helmets, vests, flashlights and whistles to assist with an emergency.
The Pasadena Fire Department hopes to make free trainings like these routine. It's planning another training session for early 2014, and plans to host two trainings a year.
To get more information about future trainings, call 626-744-7276. You can also contact the Pasadena Fire Department for training on how to use fire extinguishers.