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Brothers Grimm help prep Utah for disasters

Published October 12, 2012 9:38 am

Training • They use more realistic emergency scenarios to teach response skills.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Bluffdale • The better the practice, the better people will respond when the Big One hits.

That's the approach brothers Jay and Kelly Bertoch have taken in developing more realistic settings for individuals training to be part of Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) that will be called upon to help neighborhoods cope in a disaster, such as a major earthquake along the Wasatch Front.

"We really feel strongly that people should get training," said Jay Bertoch, co-founder of the training program known as Brothers Grimm, Masters of Disaster. "It's not if, but when, we have a disaster. Training is the key, good training."

Not like the training Bertoch received when he first got into emergency response work.

"They turned off the lights and tipped over a few chairs. That's not what it's going to be like in a real disaster," he said. "The first time you see someone in a very traumatized position, it's tough. I've seen things people shouldn't have to see, but you're going to see it in any kind of disaster. If you're trained to deal to help with that kind of situation, that would be a great thing to do."

To help make trainings more realistic and valuable, the Brothers Grimm have developed intricate disaster scenarios. They apply makeup to their "victims," painting gross wounds on their faces or torsos. They use tarps to form rooms where victims are located and continually add new visual effects to make the scene more chaotic.

"A couple of years ago we wanted to get better at it, so we got more electronics into it, better smokers," Jay Bertoch said.

"It's similar to what you'd seen in a haunted house," said Cheryl Ivie, Salt Lake County's director of volunteer services, who was part of a sizable county contingent that participated in a multijurisdictional training exercise earlier this fall in Lehi. "Ours was simulating an earthquake, but they also do fires. What they do is amazing."

Besides setting up challenging disaster scenes, the Brothers Grimm emphasize hands-on training to help their CERT pupils check pulses and airways for blockages.

"We set up triage areas and let people practice," said Jay Bertoch, who was CERT operations coordinator in Bluffdale and, like his brother, is certified as an instructor by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

"Practice is the best way to learn. The pros train all the time for the muscle memory — and to recognize hazards you don't want to get into," he added. "Rescuers often get themselves into positions where they shouldn't have been."

Up to now, Brothers Grimm productions have been free. The Bertochs feel it's their duty to help out as best they can. But they also hope that participants in their training exercises will be inspired to buy from them products that can be put to use in a disaster.

"Someday we would like to make some money out of this," said Jay Bertoch, who also is exploring the idea of continuing the work as a nonprofit.

mikeg@sltrib.com

Twitter: @sltribmikeg Disaster preparation

Across Utah there are 90 Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training programs, including 14 in Salt Lake County. Information for all 90 is available at http://1.usa.gov/iPET6R. Contacts in Salt Lake County are listed as:

Bluffdale

David Rasmussen

801-867-3743

dwras1@gmail.com

Cottonwood Heights

Dawn Black

801-944-7098

dblack@cottonwoodheights.utah.gov

Draper

Joava Good

801-755-9886

joavagood1@yahoo.com

Midvale

Marty Glover

801-255-4441

mglover@midvale.com

Murray

Jon Harris

801-264-2762

jharris@murray.utah.gov

Salt Lake City

John Flynt

801-799-3604

john.flynt@slcgov.com

Salt Lake Community College

Charlie Dressen

801-957-4963

charlie.dressen@slcc.edu

Sandy

Lenore Corey

801-568-2944

lcorey@sandy.utah.gov

South Jordan

Reed Thompson

801-254-3742

dlewis@sjc.utah.gov

South Salt Lake

Michael Clark

801-661-4914

sslcert@hotmail.com

Taylorsville

Lisa Schwartz

801-955-2092

lschwartz@taylorsvilleut.org

Unified Fire Authority

David Ulibarri

801-743-7200

communityassistance@ufa-slco.org

West Jordan

Reed Scharman

801-260-7300

reeds@wjordan.com

West Valley City

Frank Crowe

801-918-0373

frankwraycrowe@aol.com

Source: Citizen Corps