by Aaron Grossman
If your home had a 62% chance of a major plumbing or electrical failure by 2030, you wouldn’t wait for the failure to occur, you’d fix the problem in advance. CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) disaster preparation is the same idea.
With a 62% chance of a major area quake by 2030, the time to prepare is now. Make your home safe from falling objects – secure tall furniture that can tip over, breakable items that could fall. If your medicine needs refrigeration, get a portable cooler that works off your car. You need basic supplies for a major earthquake: food, water, flashlights, plastic sheets, warm clothes, and family special needs. Your local OMVNA CERT volunteer can help you plan. If there is a disaster with no phones, and overwhelmed police and fire departments, our 55 CERT volunteers will provide basic local communication and coordination via our walkie-talkie network and ham radio link to the MV Emergency Services Office. We do NOT stockpile food, water, or personal medicines – that is up to you.
You can also join OMVNA CERT as a Local Coordinator (LC). It is fun, easy, a great way to meet your neighbors, and you get a $100 backpack disaster kit ( LED waterproof flashlight, FRS/GMRS 2-way radio, hardhat, a basic med kit, and many other disaster materials) to use as long as you volunteer with us. During an emergency, the LC only provides the assistance for which they are trained and qualified–common sense is the rule. Our main mission is preparation and communication. The LC does what he can and uses the radio to get help. Additional CERT training is offered for free by the city for those interested. Outside of disasters, being a CERT LC is a minimal time commitment–a few minutes each first Wednesday at 8 PM for a radio check. The annual meeting early each year is two hours, and attendance is requested, not mandatory. The same holds for optional drills during the year – do what you can.
Joining OMVNA CERT takes two steps. First, get your own basic home supplies disaster kit together – one trip to Costco or a big grocery store. Then we have a 45 minute orientation to answer questions and go over the disaster kit. After that, the new LC is active and added to the list. Contact me by email or cell (408 202-2802) after 4PM for more info.
OMVNA has sponsored our local CERT since 2000. Last year we lost 3 volunteers, added 7, and spent about $1,000, mostly on radio equipment and medical supplies. OMVNA covered $900 of the 2010 expenses, with another $100 coming from donations. OMVNA has allocated $500 to CERT for 2011. Since almost $300 has already been spent on replenishing emergency kit supplies, any donations from individual residents would be very welcome.