Sunday, March 1, 2009

The pen is mightier than the sword.....

Hi folks,
I have gotten lots of emails from members of our CERT family concerned with the current budget cut issue. Thanks to all of you, it is quite heartening to get such a large response. CERT means a lot to ALL of us.
Nearly everyone who has emailed has asked for some way to voice their "displeasure" over the budget cut to the board of supervisors as a whole and their own district supervisors. Writing letters so far appears to be the most effective method.

In response to those requests, below is a guide letter you may wish to "cut and paste" for that purpose. A simple form letter gets ones' point across,but I would recommend personalizing it in some way before you send it. The board of supervisors gets letters, petitions and the like on an almost daily basis. If a letter comes from a CERT member who is genuinely,sincerely concerned they may just pay attention to it. Relate your experiences, let the supervisors know what CERT means to you.

These are the email addresses for each district supervisor.

Board Members

* Chairman, At-Large — Sharon Bulova

* Braddock — Vacant, Special Election March 10
* Dranesville — John W. Foust

* Hunter Mill — Catherine M. Hudgins
Lee — Jeff C. McKay
(This address takes you to an online comment form for Mr.McKay)

* Mason — Penelope A. Gross, Vice Chairman

* Mount Vernon — Gerald W. Hyland (again, this is a link to an online
comment form)

* Providence — Linda Q. Smyth (yet another online comment form)

* Springfield — Pat Herrity

* Sully — Michael R. Frey

Keep those letters coming, we may be able to change the outcome of this.
your volunteer PIO

To whom it may concern:

The fiscal year 2010 county budget contains a proposed budget cut which is of deep concern to me. The specific budget proposal is listed in the FY 2010 budget as 001-92-381.The specific line of business number is 92-05.

This cut eliminates the single Management Analyst 2 position from the fire and rescue departments' volunteer liaison office. The removal of this one position will curtail the activities of the Fairfax County Community Emergency Response Team drastically.

CERT members nationwide have proven themselves to be an active and vital part of their communities' preparedness and response capability. For example, CERTs have been used to:
Distribute and/or install smoke alarms and batteries to the elderly and disabled.
Assist with evacuations and traffic control.
Promote community awareness of potential hazards and preparedness measures.
Supplement staffing at special events, such as parades.
Act as intelligent and motivated victims for training exercises.

In times of large scale disaster, trained CERT members help their neighbors and their own families when normal emergency response assets are overwhelmed. CERT members become citizens that can decisively help others; rather than being just another victim overtaxing scarce response resources.

The Fairfax County CERT program is fully paid for with Department of Homeland Security federal grant money. One Management Analyst 2 position in the office of the volunteer liaison merely administers the CERT program. Fairfax County does not spend monies to fund the program itself.
As a citizen of Fairfax County I strongly urge you to reconsider the consequences of this cost cutting proposal. This one budget action hampers the ability for all county residents to take useful, well managed, cost effective training to help themselves and others in times of major disaster.
Without the CERT program, over 500 CERT members, their families and their communities lose.