Sunday, August 31, 2008
I have some updates for you regarding some of the upcoming CERT community outreach events.
September 10th- Faith communities in action conference at the Fairfax County government center from 2-4 pm. If you would like to help with the CERT display please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
September 13th-Centreville day-at St john's episcopal church in Centreville 9am to 4 pm. If someone could work this event, please contact me. I cannot get the time off from work to work this event.
September 13th-Members of Reston/Herndon CERT are working the Reston district Fairfax County police dept. open house at the Reston district police station. Lani of Herndon/Reston CERT is coordinating this event. If you are interested in helping, contact Lani directly at OnyxArcher@cs.com .
September 20th-Emegency preparedness awareness fair, 10am to 2pm at Groveton baptist church in Alexandria. I don't have all information on this event yet, as I get more info I'll pass it on.
September 23rd-USDA emergency preparedness fair in Alexandria 10am-2pm-We will have the CERT display here. If you would like to help man the CERT booth, please contact me.
September 25th-Emergency preparedness roundtable meeting, town of Herndon police station 7pm-9pm. This is a combination roundtable meeting on emergency preparedness describing how local response organizations coordinate disaster response activities. In addition, citizens will be able to have a short question and answer session with the roundtable representatives. Herndon/Reston CERT is handling this event, contact Lani at email@example.com for more information.
October 4th-Fall for Fairfax event, Fairfax County government center 9am-6pm. We'll have the CERT display here in the safety island display section. We will need help on the display.
CERT has been asked by Jeffrey, the fire dept. volunteer coordinator for two to three CERT members to work in an operational role at this event. These CERT members will be helping EMS; these CERTs will be working crowd control for EMS teams deployed to calls on site. Any CERT that has completed Fairfax County CERT training is elgible to work this duty. If you are interested in working with EMS at this event, the first 3 CERT members that contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with their name, their CERT class number and their phone number will be chosen. Those CERT's selected will report directly to the OIC (officer in charge) of the event by 9am.
October 11th-Fire prevention day/Fire department open house-9am to 4pm.
CERT will be in four different fire houses on this day; we'll have a CERT display set up in each of these stations. The stations hosting CERT displays are:
We need two CERT's to work the displays in each station; and each CERT will need to be there from 9am to 4pm. The fire stations will be feeding us lunch (and from experience, they make a good lunch!).
The CERT program in Fairfax County would not be the world class program it is without the support of the county fire and rescue department. They support us in a number of ways; and we really need to show our support for them at this event. They are counting on us to help make their event a rousing success. If you are interested in helping out, please email me with your name and class number.
October 27th-Capitol Shield exercise, Lorton Prison 8am to 5pm. CERT members will be victims for first responders on the morning of the exercise; and will be responders in some capacity during the afternoon of this event. I have no more details at this point; as I get them I will pass them along. If your'e interested in participating please send me an email with your name, email address and CERT class number.
These are the community outreach events CERT will be participating in; remember participation in three outreach events in a calendar year counts as a CERT refresher course. This is an easy,interesting and fun way to take your yearly required CERT refresher class. Community outreach events also afford you the opportunity to help your fellow neighbors learn to prepare for disasters. And, helping one's neighbors is what CERT is all about, right?
Finally, for those CERT members that helped with the National night out event in August-if you have any leftover handouts or freebies from this event, please contact me at email@example.com. Remaining stocks of outreach materials are very! low at this point; and we could do the "green thing" and recycle what's left by using them at other events.
Thanks for your help folks.
your volunteer PIO
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Seriously, we need help on Wednesday September 10 and 17 from 7pm to 1030pm. The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy will be our playground for this event. Your help keeps our CERT program sharp. We need just 10 participants for each night. Join in the fun one or both nights.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up and get more information.
If you have signed up for the upcoming CERT class this will give you an excellent example of what to expect.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Each year college and university students, on- and off-campus, experience hundreds of fire-related emergencies nationwide. There are several specific causes for fires on college campuses: cooking, intentionally set fires, and open flame. Overall, most college-related fires are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. The great majority of student fire deaths occur in off-campus housing that lacks insufficient exits, missing or inoperative smoke alarms, and automatic fire sprinklers. Also, use of candles, careless smoking habits, and the misuse of alcohol – which impairs judgment and hampers evacuation efforts – contribute to off-campus housing fire deaths.
Colleges and universities are busy preparing for the arrival of new residents to their campus communities. Some will be first year students moving into the residence halls. Other arriving students will be moving off-campus and living on their own, some for the first time. For most of these students, the last fire safety training they received was in grade school; but with new independence comes new responsibilities. It is important that both off-campus and on-campus students understand fire risks and know the preventative measures that could save their lives.
In cases where fire fatalities have occurred on college campuses, alcohol was a factor. There is a strong link between alcohol and fire deaths. In more than 50% of adult fire fatalities, victims were under the influence at the time of the fire. Alcohol abuse often impairs judgment and hampers evacuation efforts.
Many factors contribute to the problem of dormitory housing fires, including;
*Improper use of 911 notification systems delays emergency response.
*Student apathy is prevalent. Many are unaware that fire is a risk or threat in the environment.
*Evacuation efforts are hindered since fire alarms are often ignored.
*Building evacuations are delayed due to lack of preparation and pre-planning.
*Vandalized and improperly maintained smoke alarms and fire alarm systems inhibit early detection of fires.
*Misuse of cooking appliances, overloaded electrical circuits, and extension cords increase the risk of fires.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Virginia Department of Emergency Management
10501 Trade Court, Richmond, VA 23236
Laura Southard-- (804) 897-6510
FOR RELEASE AT WILL - Aug. 20, 2008
What Are You Doing to Get Ready? RICHMOND, VA - Half of Virginians recently surveyed by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management have emergency supply kits in their homes. More citizens can join that number during September, which is National Preparedness Month.
-- September is National Preparedness Month --
"All Virginians are encouraged to follow the lead and get prepared for disasters and emergencies during September," said Michael Cline, VDEM state coordinator. "What we do ahead of time really matters. When families take steps before emergencies happen, then they have a better chance of avoiding injury and recovering quickly."
The survey also showed that half of Virginians have identified an out-of-town friend or relative for their family members to contact in case they are separated during an emergency. "Set aside time during September to create a family emergency plan. That one step could save a lot of heartache," said Cline.
The informal survey was conducted by VDEM to help evaluate citizen awareness and readiness for natural and human-caused emergencies and disasters. A total of 430 adults throughout the state participated. Although not a formal poll, survey results mirror previous research conducted by the agency.
"September is a great time for even more people to get ready because it is the height of hurricane and flash flood season in the Commonwealth," said Cline.
During National Preparedness Month, Cline encourages citizens to take three simple, low-cost steps to protect their families:
- Get a kit. An emergency supply kit contains essential items to support a family for at least three days. A kit should include non-perishable food along with a manual can opener and about one gallon of water per person per day. Having extra cash or traveler's checks on hand is useful if power outages affect banking institutions. A whistle that can be used to signal for help and dust masks that can filter air could be included, along with a battery powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
- Make a plan. A family communications plan includes discussions about what to do and who to contact if family members are separated when an emergency strikes. For example, it is often easier to call long distance during an emergency due to overloaded local phone lines. Each family member should know where to meet and who to call in case of emergency.
- Stay informed. It is vital that people stay informed before, during and after an emergency. Listen to local media and use resources such as www.ReadyVirginia.gov.
VDEM is joining with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to promote National Preparedness Month as a time for families, businesses and communities to take action on emergency preparedness. More than 1,200 national, regional, state and local businesses and organizations are part of the fifth annual effort.
To learn more about getting ready for emergencies, visit www.ReadyVirginia.gov or www.ListoVirginia.gov. Free materials also are available by calling toll-free (866) 782-3470. TTY/TDD users may call 711.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Here is a list of CERT community outreach events coming up in the months of September and October. If you see an event you would like to participate in/help with, please feel free to email me at email@example.com
September 10th, 2008-
Faith communities in action conference, 2-4pm at the Fairfax County govt. center.
We'll have the CERT display set up here and handouts for the participants. We have also been asked to give a short talk on the CERT program. This conference will be an ideal time to get the CERT basic program out to the faith based community.
Centreville Day, 8am-4pm at St. John's Episcopal church in Centreville
We'll have the CERT display there and handouts on emergency preparedness for the citizens.
USDA/FNS Emergency preparedness day-at USDA FNS HQ 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria,VA from 10am-2pm
We'll have the CERT display here, talk about CERT to the USDA employees and give out emergency preparedness handouts.
City of Herndon police crime prevention council emergency preparedness roundtable/ town hall meeting.7pm to 9pm at the Herndon police department community room.
This event will start out as a roundtable discussion between representatives of Herndon police, Loudoun and Fairfax county OEM representatives and volunteer organizations-and how each will work together in times of disaster.After the roundtable discussion, there will be a 30 minute question and answer session between the roundtable participants and citizens in the audience.
Open house event at Fairfax co. police Reston district police station. Members of the Herndon/Reston CERT will have the CERT display there.
Saturday, October 4th,2008
Fall for Fairfax-at the Fairfax County government center from 8am-6pm
We'll have the CERT booth here in the safety island section (believe this is at the front of the govt. center). This is the "fall festival" version of Celebrate Fairfax; and we'll need help to man the CERT display here. If you are interested, please contact me.
Saturday, October 11th, 2008- 9am to 4pm
Fire prevention day/Fairfax County fire dept. open house day. For CERT, this will involve having CERTs and CERT displays/handouts in (at least for now) three volunteer fire stations. This may change to include more stations; as I get more information I'll pass it along.
The three stations already confirmed are as follows:
Station # 17-Centreville
The fire department gives CERT LOTS!!! of support; let's get out there and show our support for them. We'll need CERT's to man the displays at these stations.
If you are interested in helping out at ANY of these outreach events; please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, your CERT class number and what event you would like to help with.
Thanks for your help !
your volunteer PIO
Friday, August 15, 2008
I wanted to share this link with you. This is the link to a report released just this week from the US fire administration. The report is on firefighter fatalities that occured in the US during 2007.
I just read through it; it's very interesting and informative. It will also give you a MUCH greater appreciation of the efforts of our own county firefighters; particularly the efforts of our own CERT trainers Mike, Steve and Derek. Our trainers teach us of the need to prepare; yet every day these same folks deal with dangerous and potentially life threatening situations.
A BIG tip of the hat to our CERT trainers Mike, Steve and Derek for their efforts to teach us; and for helping keep the community at large safe as well
your volunteer PIO
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Fairfax County CERT members participated in the National Night Out Tuesday August 6th, sponsored by the county police department and neighborhood watch. CERT members participated in "ride alongs" with police officers to community crime prevention events scheduled all over the county. Each member that participated should recieve a hearty "YOU ROCK!!!" for being "PIO for the evening".Here's the National night out roll of CERT participants:
David from CERT 14
Kevin from CERT 20
Judy from CERT 29
James from CERT 32
Karla from CERT 31
Bob from CERT 29
Susy from CERT 4
Peter from CERT 2
Bob from CERT 15
These folks worked as additional CERT volunteer public information officers this evening. We had a briefing at the government center Monday night on the event (with 100% attendance-thanks!)too. We covered CERT talking points, how to effectively communicate with the public, "PIO-ness" and specific details on National night out.We also divided up truckloads of handouts and "freebies"; each "PIO for the evening" was truly well stocked with information for the public.
On Tuesday August 5th I manned our CERT "wall display"booth for the National night out kickoff event. The many police officers in attendance were able to see how CERT is useful to the community at large.
With each community outreach event that we do, an after action report is always written and passed on to Derek. Since we had multiple PIO's on National Night Out, we had our "PIO's for the evening" write those reports. Below is a sampling of them; there are some truly good ideas here!
Thank you to all the volunteers participating in national night out; CERT has never had the opportunity to promote the CERT message to so many at one time.
your volunteer PIO
Peter worked in Mount Vernon district.
Just reporting in with you on the NNO PIO experience last evening. It
went just great and according to the plan!
I reported to Mt. Vernon station at 5:00PM. A rep from Medical
Reserve Corps was also there for the event.
We visited Homeowners associations within a few miles of the
station and I was able to hand out the cards, CD's, literature and
flashlights to raise awareness on FC CERT.
I was able to talk with about five to six people at each event in
depth about the training opportunities, both at the academy and at
their locations with the right number of people committed.
Thanks again for the opportunity to serve CERT and the community.
James worked in the Reston district. Sorry about the rough ride in the police cruiser, but thank you for some really GREAT !! ideas on how to make the event better next time.
Terry – quick notes
Susy and I did the RESTON tour
There is a great opportunity here – one we all should take advantage of and prepare for the next opportunity.
We had a table available at the first stop (Hastings Hunt) so we were able to make an ad hoc display with the brochures, CDs and our back packs as a background.
I did prepare a notebook with several photos I printed from Mike’s portfolio – showing several aspects of CERT exercise
I think that helped people visualize what we were saying about CERT.
More visual information would help convey the message (nothing elaborate)
The next stop (Hidden Brook) was very short.
The last stop (Parc Reston) was at a swimming pool – had 4 people interested and listened to the pitch we gave. Handouts are nice but you first have to capture their attention with some type of display (even a 12x24 card with the CERT logo would have worked.The “ride-along” part was terrible – Susy and I were crammed into the back seat (caged) of a cruiser with our backpacks, helmets, and handouts. If we were able to know what kind of events we were going to it would have been easier to prepare ourselves.Would definitely do it again – I can see what improvements and preparations there needs to be.We need some visual item to get their attention i. A chart/posture that defines CERT ii. Some “action’ photos that illustrate what CERT does
iii. Thought about demo-ing a field expedient duct tape and card board split as an attention gatherer.There is a natural tie-in with Neighborhood Watch.
Could we follow-up and have an opportunity to attend one of the monthly NW meetings that are held at all the district stations
Two (or three) CERTs could easily handle a meeting – educate /what is CERT/ training content (CERT Basic) FX tiered program
This was a good start – can see where we need to go and possibly several ways to get there.
Thanks for the opportunity
Kevin worked in Lorton, in his neighborhood. Kevin is a Neighborhood Watch block officer as well.
I hosted the National Night Out Celebration in my neighborhood, last night. I had a table set up displaying CERT and Neighborhood Watch info, along with safety and preparedness information. The evening started at 7pm with a visit from The Fairfax Connection newspaper. I discussed the CERT program with the reporter, who had no idea that our program existed. We should get some press from this, I feel better now that I wasn't able to go to McLean on the ride along, since this interview may have a broader exposure. The West Springfield CPO, MPO, JT and VIPS (and CERT) John visited at 830, with a visit from Station Commander Capt Ferguson shortly thereafter. Frey and Ferguson were somewhat familiar with CERT, but not as much as I had hoped for. They each received our complimentary CERT flashlight. We had about 50 people attend, which I'm extremely pleased about. Getting a crowd from our neighborhood that large, for anything, is amazing. A neighbor took pictures for me, so as soon as I get them sent to me, I'll send them your way.
I hope the other teams had a successful night.
Judy worked in Mason district.
It was a grand event. I had fun. The CERT booth at Skyline Plaza generated 6 names!!! With my ride along- we went to one community then my own. May I keep the booth until I return t. I will call you to set up arrangements to get it back to you. Hope you had fun, too.
(Judy also reported an instance of "duelling sirens" at this event. Apparently two different groups of police showed up at Skyline plaza; and seemed interested in seeing who had the noisiest sirens. The noise generated from the duelling sirens was enough to generate noise complaints from the residents! Job well done, Judy :)
Bob worked in West Springfield.
He didn't write up a report but called me after the event. His bottom line report was, "Great!! event, CROWDS of people interested in the CERT basic and CERT 2 programs; let's do it again, I had FUN!"
Susy paired up with James in Reston district.
Sorry - I've been working late all week and haven't had time to send you anything. The Hastings Hunt event was by far the largest - The other two were smaller (Hiddenbrook and Parc Reston), and since we hit them so late, there weren't a lot of folks there (maybe 2 or 3 at Hiddenbrook).
I think our biggest problem was that we got to Hastings Hunt too early (we were there by about 5:30, and it wasn't even scheduled to start until 6) and stayed too long (till 7:30 or so). This was primarily driven by the fact that Hastings Hunt had the county helicopter come to their event, and the CPO we rode with was assigned to be there before the helicopter and stay until it left. As a result, we only made it to 3 of the 7 events scheduled for our district. We attended a great picnic event at Hastings Hunt, complete with the county helicopter, squad cars, fire engines, ambulances, a moon bounce, games, and good food., and also attended events at Hiddenbrook and Parc Reston. (On the "good food" front, Parc Reston had Ben and Jerry's ice cream at their event!) When I get home, I'll try to send you a picture of the helicopter (w/ Jim in it) from Hastings Hunt.
The positive thing was that when the CPO dropped us off at the station, he did ask for contact info for their station Open House in September. I gave him the CERT business card and my email address. I think you were already aware that they had asked us to participate at that - I expect it may go better than the ride along, since we'll be able to set up a real display (I think) and it should be a bit more organized.
Steve from CERT 14 just sent this in; he helped host the event in his community.
Daventry/Ramblewood Celebrate National Night Out!
On August 5th, the 25th anniversary of National Night Out (NNO), almost 150 adults, parents, children, and several family pets of Daventry and Ramblewood Homeowners Associations (HOA), attend NNO activities at the Daventry Community Center and pool. VA Delegate Dave Albo attended the entire evening and Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity made an appearance.
Children’s activities included fun, games and activities around “So No to Drugs” campaign and anticrime activities. Parents, in addition to having a chance to talk with VA Delegate Dave Albo and Supervisor Pat Herrity, were provided food, water, and lots of literature on child ID kits, crime and drug prevention, Identity Theft, home and fire safety, after-school safety, Neighborhood Watch, Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Fairfax County’s Community Emergency Alert Network (CEAN), just to name a few.
Officers and representatives from Fairfax County Police Department, Fire and Rescue Department, and our own Steve from CERT 14, were on hand to answer residents’ questions.
“Hands on” activities included a police cruiser from the Springfield District police station where YOU could turn on the lights and sirens. How cool is that!
Engine 427, led by LT Corey Matthews from Station 27 responded and provided a refreshing quench to the evening’s warm temperatures. The Engine 427 crew laid out the “booster line” and invited all to take a turn, practicing with the hose. What a “blast” or should I say “spray” from the hose kept many of the younger generation pretty excited.
A good time was had by all at this year’s Daventry/Ramblewood NNO activities. Huge thanks go out to Anna Jensen, Daventry Safety Neighborhood Watch Coordinator, and Christine Wells, Daventry Safety Chair for coordinating this years events It gets bigger and better each year. .
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Thanks for getting the word out!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
VDEM has created a short online survey to assess the public's perception of their level of preparedness. The study will help determine Virginians' awareness of potential hazards and threats in their area, the steps they have taken to get ready for disasters and the level of participation in disaster response volunteer groups. The survey is available online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=dlV_2b262GQMCPjiW02a3WTw_3d_3d.
Learn how to conduct a drill at http://www.vaemergency.com/threats/tornado/index.cfm.
The plan is available on OCP's Web site: http://www.ocp.virginia.gov/Initiatives/documents/VA_Plan.pdf.
The FEMA Comprehensive Preparedness Guide, CPG 101 provides general guidelines on developing Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs). It promotes a common understanding of the fundamentals of planning and decision making to help emergency planners examine a hazard and produce integrated, coordinated, and synchronized plans. This Guide helps emergency managers in State, Territorial, Local, and Tribal governments in their efforts to develop and maintain a viable all-hazard EOP.
Read more at http://www.fema.gov/about/divisions/cpg.shtm
Monday, August 4, 2008
Here are the assignments for tomorrow night's National Night Out event. Each CERT is asked to report directly to the district police stations as listed below by 5pm. The event will run until 9pm.
David from CERT 14- work w/Lt.Kidd Fair Oaks district
Kevin from CERT 20- working in McLean district
Judith from CERT 29- working in Mason district
James from CERT 32- working in Reston district
Mark from CERT 31-working in Franconia district
Bob from CERT 29- working in West Springfield district
Peter from CERT 2- working in Mt Vernon district
Karla from CERT 31-working in Sully district
Susy from CERT 4 working in Reston district
Bob from CERT 15-working in Fair Oaks district
Remember, tonight's briefing for National night out takes place at 7pm at the county government center, in conference rooms 4/5.
Thanks for all your help and please contact me if there are any questions.
your volunteer PIO
For more information, please visit http://www.dhs.gov/xprepresp/publications/gc_1217521334397.shtm
Sunday, August 3, 2008
As you know CERT is participating with Neighborhood Watch in the National Night Out event. This CERT community outreach event is scheduled for Tuesday August 5th from 5pm to 9pm. A number of CERT's will be riding along with county police officers, being "PIO for the evening".These volunteer PIO's will be talking about CERT to people in events scheduled all over Fairfax County.
For those CERT's participating in NNO; please don't forget the briefing scheduled for Monday August 4th at 7pm. This will be held at the Fairfax County Government Center, located at 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax. The briefing starts at 7pm, and will be held in conference room 4/5.
As part of the promotional efforts CERT made up a flyer on the event; which just got posted to the Virginia Department of Emergency Management website. You can view this flyer at
A big "YOU ROCK" goes to Ellen Kamilakis, the PIO for the county's Office of Emergency Management for helping make this flyer look really! nice (and compliant to county standards!).
your volunteer PIO
Saturday, August 2, 2008
One of our local area CERT teams need victims for an upcoming exercise. If your'e interested in participating; please contact Montgomery county,MD CERT member Bob Wirth. He can be reached at email@example.com
CERT Membership - Volunteers are needed as victims
Event: Hands-On Training - Mock Emergency Scenarios (HOT MES)
Date: Thursday, August 7, 2008 (NOTE DATE CHANGE requested by MCFRS)
Time: 11:00 AM to 8:00 PM (you can stay a few hours or the entire time)
Location: Montgomery County Public Service Training Academy (PSTA), 9710 Great Seneca Highway, Rockville, Maryland Google Map
Dress: For a number of scenarios, Fire/Rescue personnel will use a variety of make-up (moulage) to replicate injuries (bleeding, bruises, broken bones, and etc.). Wear old clothes and comfortable footwear.
Meal: You will have the opportunity to share an excellent meal with the recruits and their families. Cost is $5.00.
Report To: Captain Stacey Jones, Recruit Training Coordinator, PSTA
This is an event where recruit class #32 is put to the test running 25 - 30 emergency response scenarios. Scenarios include medical services calls and working fires. The command bus will be operational and members of the Montgomery County Police Department will also be participating. It is also a special time for the recruit's family members who will watch their soon-to-be firefighters in action.
Volunteer victims will be assigned scenarios in which they will act out specific roles - drunk, heart attack, mental issues, falls, and etc. No acting skills are required and you can be creative. You may have the opportunity to be transported in an EMS unit or be carried down the stairs on a stretcher. It is an excellent event for interaction between CERT members and Fire/Rescue personnel.
Questions: Contact CERT member Bob Wirth, who has participated as a volunteer victim in the past. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
your volunteer PIO