O’FALLON, Mo. – One day after a minor earthquake hits the St. Louis region, a one-of-a-kind emergency training group with O’Fallon police shows why their team is crucial.

What may look like a simple wooded area, come nighttime, serves as the backdrop for a very complex training exercise.

A group of 15 volunteers with the O’Fallon Police Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) takes what they’ve learned and puts it into action.

Conducting a practice rescue mission to find a missing man.

“In a classroom, you’re only learning by watching videos and reading, here you’re actually putting hands-on and using the skills you’ve learned in the classroom,” said O’Fallon Police Officer and Community Emergency Response Team Coordinator, Gene Delaney, “and they’re doing it as a team.”

Headed by officer Gene Delaney the full team consists of 47 men and women of all ages and backgrounds. Each a member of the community they’ve chosen to serve.

“I’m a team leader for a financial firm,” said Michael Mannion.

That’s his day job but on the side, he’s a different kind of leader.

“We all need to pitch in and help each other,” said C.E.R.T. Team Leader, Michael Mannion, “because sooner or later something happens everywhere we live so it’s only a matter of time.”

Throughout the year they’re taught how to respond to a variety of emergency events. But this kind of full-scale exercise only happens once a month.

“Everything from dealing with floods, storms, earthquakes, they learn basic medical, they learn basic evacuation techniques so there’s always something that we’re learning,” said Officer Delaney.

The skills learned in the search and rescue mission prove to be invaluable and they’re ready if the day comes.

“We should always give back to our communities because it makes us part of the community, right?”  

In the end, they found the 150-pound dummy and brought it back on a stretcher- completing their mission.

Learn more about the O’Fallon Police Community Emergency Response Team here.