Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) "We have a passion to make sure people are safe," said Jay Bertoch, left, with his brother Kelly. The Bertoch brothers operate a company, Grimm Brothers Disaster, that provides disaster training for local governments and any other group that wants to beef up its preparedness for earthquakes, floods, fires and other disasters. Grimm Brothers provide a life-like scenario with actors of all ages in various states of distress with fake blood, open wounds and broken bones to teach triage emergency care. The actors behind them in the photo are various family members and friends.
‘Brothers Grimm’ help prep Utah for disasters
Training » They use more realistic emergency scenarios to teach response skills.
First Published Oct 10 2012 08:09 am • Last Updated Oct 10 2012 08:17 am

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.

At a glance

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:


David Rasmussen



Cottonwood Heights

Dawn Black




Joava Good




Marty Glover




Jon Harris



Salt Lake City

John Flynt



Salt Lake Community College

Charlie Dressen




Lenore Corey



South Jordan

Reed Thompson



South Salt Lake

Michael Clark




Lisa Schwartz



Unified Fire Authority

David Ulibarri



West Jordan

Reed Scharman



West Valley City

Frank Crowe



Source: Citizen Corps

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"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).

story continues below
story continues below

"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.

"Some day 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.


Twitter: @sltribmikeg

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.