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Red Cross Emergency Preparedness Academy Kicks Off

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CREVE COEUR, MO (KTVI)-- A groundbreaking event for the St. Louis Red Cross chapter kicked off Monday at the group`s headquarters in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

The focus--- preparing large scale institutions for the worst.

It`s called the Red Cross Emergency Preparedness Academy 2012.

Red Cross experts teach people triage techniques that can be used in mass casualty incidents.

The students are representatives from large groups like businesses, school districts and churches.

Jim Montgomery is a senior safety engineer with Monsanto.

He also coordinates the company`s emergency response.

'I`m trying to get as much education and as much knowledge as possible so I can take it back to work and see how we can incorporate it with our employees and our emergency responders at work,' said Montgomery.

The two day academy features speakers who have dealt with major disasters including the Joplin tornado and the Good Friday tornados that devastated areas like Lambert Airport.

Red Cross officials say what makes this training unique is the focus on big groups.

The idea is that the people will take what they learn not only back to their companies but also back home to their families.

'When businesses fail because of emergencies and disasters people don`t have jobs- the community as a whole can`t recover. If I can teach your business to prepare, you`re safe, you get back to work quicker, your employees are safer because they took the information home- they get back to work quicker,' explained Nicole Holtgrefe with the American Red Cross.

This is the first time the academy has taken place in St. Louis.

Organizers want to make it an annual event.

'My hope is that people will go back to their business, actually implement some of the information that they learned, and people will be safer and we`ll be a more prepared community and resilient for anything that should happen,' said Holtgrefe.

There were about 25 people at today`s first day of the academy.

More than 300 people are expected tomorrow.

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