Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Recap of the Ambulance Chase and Viva Vienna

This weekend CERT members assisted in operational roles at two different events-the ambulance chase 5k run and the Viva Vienna festival.

The ambulance chase was an exciting event; from an activity and a CERT learning standpoint. Initially we were there to just volunteer; as the event unfolded it became apparent a CERT IC would make the event run smoother from a CERT volunteer perspective. James from CERT 32 was appointed the CERT IC "on the fly" and below is his report.

I think we can say the support mission was well received – all did an outstanding job. After the initial assistance in setting up I made sure the event coordinator (Hana) knew we were ‘available’. She asked us to help with traffic control near the start and finish point for the initial Fun Run for the kids. I observed that here Station 21 volunteers were very involved with the race/run details and she need us to assist somewhat with the traffic, even in the Government center parking area. Just before the beginning of the RACE we were put aboard the cone trailer to be dropped off at designed spots as the cone were being repositions ahead of the runners.

We were assigned to 7 route locations that were not covered by police officers. Bob and Grace and Sandra were posted at traffic light controlled intersections where the runners would turn right. Gert was a little further down at a primary exit of a shopping center. Judy established a control point at the entrance to the Penino Center where the runners would also exit when they completed that loop. I was at the through lanes opposite the Government Center entrance to make sure the runners continued straight ahead. Bob was at the entrance on the other side of the street where the runners hit the 3-mile mark. Bob and I received many a ‘thanks you for volunteering’ from the runners as they passed, as I am sure the other CERT members did. We probably could have used a few more volunteers although for the area and at that time the traffic was very light.

I reported to Hana when Bob and I returned to the starting point, and again when I was able to say with certainty that all our CERT members were accounted for. Hana thanked us for our support and wanted me to send her a list of the names of the 8 volunteers.

I think we made points with this event and maybe will be asked back again next time.

Jim from CERT 32

A huge YOU ROCK goes out to all the CERT volunteers that made a difference in the running of this inaugural event! Pictures of the event and the volunteers are on the Fairfax County CERT page on Facebook, the web address is www.facebook.com .

Your volunteer PIO was also helping out this weekend; for a short time at the ambulance chase and another event; I worked a CERT operational role at the aide tent at the Viva Vienna festival.I was there on Saturday and Sunday to assist members of the Vienna volunteer fire dept. with logistics, crowd control during EMS calls, patient logging and organizing the aid station.

The weekend was for the most part quiet-we handed out lots of "bandaids and sunblock"; but we had some EMS calls where I had to keep the crowds back (not as easy as it sounds). I learned the importance of being ready at a moment's notice-we were in the middle of setting the aid station up Sunday morning when an EMS call came in.
Having one's gear packed, checked and ready to go at all times makes a HUGE difference in ensuring all goes well during a call, and during CERT operations too. I even got to sit in on the debrief of this one call-and I learned a LOT.
I wish other CERT's had had some time to work this event-the Vienna VFD folks were an absolute JOY to work with.These folks went out of their way to make me feel welcomed and useful. Even though the Vienna folks are the professionals; this CERT was made to feel like "one of the guys". I felt like they wore blue shirts, I wore a CERT vest and that was the only difference. It was one of the best operational role events I've ever worked; yep I enjoyed it that much.

We still have CERT operational roles at the Herndon festival and Vintage Virginia event this weekend, and Celebrate Fairfax next weekend. If you would like to participate, drop me a line at pio@fairfaxcountycert.org with your name, your CERT class number and a contact phone number. CERT operational roles can be worked at by CERT basic and CERT 2 graduates. C'mon, join the fun!

your volunteer PIO