by Aaron Grossman
Starting March 4 the Old Mountain View CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) will move its monthly radio check to the first Sunday of each month at 7:00 PM. Our volunteer team has conducted this 5 minute radio check almost every month for the past 6 years. Fifteen to twenty of the current 54 volunteer members usually participate each time. It has previously always been held on a Wednesday night at 8:00 PM, which works for many but not all of our volunteers. We hope this change will enable more volunteers to participate. It will still be on FRS/GMRS channel 7.
OMVNA CERT can help you prepare before a disaster actually occurs, advising you on food, water, and key supplies for your family. When a situation happens where the phones go out and the police and fire services are overwhelmed, our volunteers will provide
basic local communication and coordination via our walkie-talkie network and a link to the MV Office of Emergency Servces by HAM radio operators.
We simply cannot stockpile the food, water, personal medicines, and other key supplies that you may need – that is up to you. Make sure any special needs are covered, such as medicine which needs refrigeration – a self-chilling camping cooler that plugs into a car is one answer. Make your home safe from falling objects! Large freestanding items and shelf units can tip over and be very dangerous, especially with glass. Secure them for safety! We still need more OMVNA CERT volunteers. It is fun, easy, and a great way to meet your neighbors.
Most volunteers become an LC (Local Coordinator). They get a backpack disaster kit worth $100 to use as long as they volunteer with us. The kit includes an LED waterproof flashlight, FRS/GMRS 2-way radio, hardhat, a med kit, and many other disaster materials. A covered clipboard contains basic disaster prep handouts to give to your neighbors that focuses on basic supplies you should have at home, in a
car, and at work.
During an emergency, the LCs only provide assistance they are trained and other disaster-related skills are welcome, no special training is required, only good common sense. Our main mission is preparation and communication. The LCs do what they can and use the radio to get help. Common sense is the guideline. 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. Our monthly radio check takes only a few minutes. We hold occasional meetings and drills that are requested, not mandatory. We only ask that you 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 should be enough. Then you meet with a team leader for a 45 minute orientation that includes going over the disaster kit. After that the new LC is active and added to the list. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. MV City CERT information is onthe MV City web site under Public Safety and Office of Emergency Services.