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20110121_VMHS-CERT-studentsMISSION — Thirteen students from Veterans Memorial High School (VMHS) learned how to save lives over their winter break.

Members of their school’s Health Occupation Students of America of HOSA group, the students completed 21 hours of training with the help of the Mission Fire Department.

They are now the first junior Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in the Rio Grande Valley. The training is a part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s preparedness efforts.

HOSA sponsor, Martha Medina said the students training included: first aid, triage, fire prevention, search and rescue, and hazardous materials responses. Each of them also received a backpack of tools and gear needed to respond to many emergencies. Medina also completed the training with her students.

Dora Rodriguez, one of the students involved in the training, said it was more physically demanding than she thought it would be.

Student A.J. Lozano said their CPR instructor last semester suggested they do the CERT training and that he is very glad they did. He said that while they cannot take the place of trained firefighters or police in emergencies, they can begin to respond in emergencies if they come upon one.

Medina said the CERT training is a part of their group’s efforts to promote public health and public service, through the HOSA program.

Medina also thanked Deputy Chief Doug Williams and Lt. Joe Luna from the Mission Fire Department, Richard Stubbs, Weslaco firefighter/paramedic, Steve Lopez, and Joseph Fisher, volunteers with the Mission Fire Department.

Pictured from left-to-right at the completion of their CERT training are: Martha Medina (HOSA sponsor), Caesar Torres, Brianna Gutierrez, Tevin Luna, Steven Longoria, Chelsea Castro, Dora Rodriguez, Stacey Ayarzagoitia, Lamar Espericueta, Lisa Lozano, Kandy Valdovinos, A.J. Lozano and Karina Cadena. Not pictured: Dominique Valle.

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