Saturday, October 8, 2011

History of Sunol CERT

The CERT program (Community Emergency Response Team) is a nationwide training program designed to provide some basic training to enable residents to better respond to disasters until such time as professional help can become available.   Current thinking is that in the event of a major disaster, it may take 10 days or more for professional emergency responders to arrive in Sunol.  The CERT program provides the framework and overall structure that has been proven to be of help in other communities immediately following a disaster.  Since the spring of 2010, 45 residents of Sunol have graduated from the CERT training program offered for free by Alameda County Fire Department. 

Sunol CERT was started in April 2010 with the purpose of putting together the infrastructure necessary to effectively apply CERT training in the event of a disaster in our own community.  Our goals for 2011 include (1) support Alameda County Fire Department, (2) establish and complete the Map Your Neighborhood program in Sunol, and (3) complete Phase I of the Emergency Containers Project. 
The Map Your Neighborhood program is designed to help neighborhoods prepare for disasters and is offered through Alameda County Fire Department.  This program teaches people the 9 steps they can take to secure their homes and protect their neighborhoods in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.  It also teaches people how to work together as a team to evaluate the neighborhood following a disaster as a prelude to a larger organized community-wide response by CERT teams or professional responders.  Generally, “blocks” of homes ranging from as few as 5 homes to as large as 20 homes meet and learn the basics of this program together.   If you live in Sunol and have not yet been invited to a Map Your Neighborhood meeting, your immediate neighborhood block of homes may need to be mapped.  We are looking for people interested in becoming a block leader in those neighborhoods.  CERT training is not required to be a block leader.
Sunol CERT is also working to outfit 2 emergency supply containers to be located in the more densely populated areas of Sunol.  Specifically, we have been generously provided with space in one of the Sunol Business Guild containers in the Community Park.  We have also been granted permission to place another container on Kilkare Woods Association property near their Clubhouse.  We plan to outfit these containers in phases.  The initial phase will outfit both containers with the basic, fundamental items recommended for use in earthquake country.  The second phase of the project will augment the basic supplies with items customized to the specific needs of Sunol and its residents.  For Phase I, we are working from a list provided by Fremont CERT of the container items needed to ensure efficiency in organizing and conducting an emergency response, conducting periodic training drills, and includes supplemental medical supplies.  Our goal is to complete the initial phase of the Container Project by the end of 2011.  We have successfully raised the funds necessary for the completion of Phase 1 and are in the process of making the purchases to complete Phase I by the end of 2011. 

Sunol CERT holds general meetings every other month on the 2nd Tuesday of that month  at 7 pm.  The location of the meetings changes each month and is posted on the agenda which is distributed to the public by email and is also posted to the Sunol Bulletin Board near the Post Office prior to each meeting.  Check the calendar on this blog site for the date of the next general meeting.