Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Brief History of CERTCON So Far

Logo for the CERTCON 2013 Conference, June 29-30, Fairfax, VirginiaCERTCON 2013, the conference and full-scale exercise for Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members from the National Capital Region and beyond, is less than two weeks away. (If you haven't signed up yet, spaces are running out, so sign up now to reserve your spot.)

2013 marks the third CERTCON, hosted this year by Fairfax County CERT, in partnership with Georgetown University CERT, Prince George's County CERT, Montgomery County CERT, the Northern Virginia Community College Office of Emergency Management & Planning, Virginia Department of Emergency Management and Citizen Corps.

CERTCON is free for CERTs and friends of CERT (though only trained CERTs will be able to participate in the full-scale exercise as players -- non-CERTs can observe the classes and be victims during the exercise. See the CERTCON 2013 registration page for more information.)

I've been fortunate enough to have attended every CERTCON so far (though as a participant, not an organizer), so here are some of my personal observations (with photos).

The First CERTCON

CERTCON 2011 was the inaugural CERTCON, kicked off by Montgomery County CERT and held in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The original keynote speaker, Sheree Weldon Fugate, was unable to make it, but she was able to procure a substitute: Her husband, Craig Fugate, Administrator of FEMA.

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FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. See more photos from CERTCON 2011.

Yes, the head of FEMA was a substitute speaker. The good thing about being in the National Capital Region is that you can sometimes get speakers like this at the last minute -- especially speakers who really believe in the CERT mission.

CERTCON Gets Some Exercise

CERTCON 2012 featured a few new firsts -- hosted by Georgetown University CERT on the Georgetown campus, it was the first held in DC, and also the first to feature a full-scale practical exercise, which included CERTs from around the region, as well as Georgetown nursing students, police officers, and EMTs).


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CERTs and other players at the CERTCON 2012 exercise. See more photos: Day 1 and Day 2.

 

What Will We See in 2013?

Day 1 (Saturday, June 29) will include lectures, roundtables, and classes at the Northern Virginia Community College Annandale campus in Fairfax, Virginia.

Day 2 will feature a field exercise that will take place at the former Lorton Juvenile Reformatory site in Lorton, Virginia, a huge, training facility used by many professional first responders, including the international urban search and rescue team Virginia Task Force 1.

What other firsts will we see in 2013? Register now and find out at CERTCON 2013, June 29 and 30 and see for yourself.

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