Welcome to Ojai Valley CERT

IMPORTANT UPDATE.....


THIS WEB-SITE HAS BEEN ARCHIVED.

PLEASE GO TO HTTP://OJAIVALLEYCERT.ORG

This blog provides information to those interested in CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) activities in The Ojai Valley, CA. CERT works in partnership with OVARC (Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club) which provides Ham Radio Communications - http://www.ovarc.org/.

http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert is a good place to begin learning about CERT. The fact is, immediately after a major disaster, each of us will be on our own while Emergency Services Personnel (Fire, Hospital, Police, Hospitals, etc) figure out what happened and how to respond. CERT teaches valuable self-preservation skills and empowers each of us to be of service to ourselves, family, neighborhood and community. By integrating CERT with Ham Radio, citizens can effectively communicate actionable information from the field to the Emergency Operations Center -- help will be on the way sooner.

Please check out the CERT Calendar & Map at the bottom of this web-page and sign our Guestbook (top right of page).

Ojai Valley (CERT, Ham Radio, Red Cross)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ham Radio Licensing Opportunity ( 1/11/09)


This is a great opportunity for those interested in earning a Ham Radio License (Technician Class).

The program includes:

-Easy study material prior to taking the day-long class

-Attending class from 10AM to 2PM (in Calabasas, CA)

-Taking the exam between 2PM and 3PM

-Discussing what you can do with radios between 3PM and 4PM. Costs are (in advance) $20, which covers Breakfast, Lunch and Snacks and $4 for the exam fee.

Please see above for more details. Sign-up now!!! The pass rate is very high -- if somehow you don't pass, who cares -- you can do it again soon after!!!

Sunvival -- emergency preparedness supplies

Sunvival offers a new perspective on emergency preparedness and living harmoniously with nature. Most survival plans and resources focus on a 3 day duration. However, in disasters like Hurricane Katrina, or a major earthquake, survival skills and equipment for much longer than 3 days will be essential. Our mission at Sunvival is to help everyone be prepared for such events. Tools and skills needed for longer term emergency survival draw upon nature's renewable resources and can be used for fun in camping and everyday life.

Check out their web-site at: http://www.sunvival.com/home/

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Upgrading Ham Radio License

There are three classes of Ham Radio License -- Technician, General and Extra.

The last couple years, I've been Technician Class.

Today I sat the written exam and passed the General Class -- wahoo!! This upgraded class gives a Ham Radio Operator additional frequencies (including High Frequency) and opens the door to becoming a Volunteer Examiner on behalf of the FCC.

The road toward upgrading my license included several forms of learning material:

-ARRL's General Class License Manual Book (www.arrl.org)
-www.qrz (Free online web-site where you can drill sample tests)
-www.hamtestonline.com ($49 for 2 years giving you access to all three classes).

The book is good for learning the material and self-testing by reviewing the questions and answers in the back of the book. Also useful if you're not at a computer.

QRZ is great for doing a quick self-test to see if you are retaining the information -- I found after 1 week of reading the manual my scores where exponentially better.

HamTestOnline is a paid service that essentially replaces the paper-based manual. The good thing is you don't have to flip back and forth to the questions --- they appear on the screen. You get immediate feedback if you get something correct or incorrect. If you were incorrect then it will dynamically ask the same question later (just as your brain is about to forget again!!). Only comment is that the book does a better job of explaining the details of the material.

By using all three forms of learning, I did really well on the exam this morning and was extremely relaxed throughout.

Of course, there are also audio programs (CDs typically) if you do a lot of driving and prefer studying that way.

Whatever your learning style is -- just go and do something!!!

73

Paul (KI6USA/AG) -- As a suffix to my callsign (KI6USA) the "/AG" means that I have a temporary license to operate with General Class privileges while the FCC processes the new license.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Book Recommendation ("The Unthinkable")

Book recommendation by Sean Kellythorne (Ojai Valley CERT)

The Unthinkable (Who survives when disaster strikes - and why)
Amanda Ripley (Author)

http://www.amazon.com/Unthinkable-Survives-When-Disaster-Strikes/dp/0307352897/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1227465548&sr=8-1

From Publishers Weekly
Ripley, an award-winning writer on homeland security for Time, offers a compelling look at instinct and disaster response as she explores the psychology of fear and how it can save or destroy us. Surprisingly, she reports, mass panic is rare, and an understanding of the dynamics of crowds can help prevent a stampede, while a well-trained crew can get passengers quickly but calmly off a crashed plane. Using interviews with survivors of hotel fires, hostage situations, plane crashes and, 9/11, Ripley takes readers through the three stages of reaction to calamity: disbelief, deliberation and action. The average person slows down, spending valuable minutes to gather belongings and check in with others. The human tendency to stay in groups can make evacuation take much longer than experts estimate. Official policy based on inaccurate assumptions can also put people in danger; even after 9/11, Ripley says, the requirement for evacuation drills on office buildings is inadequate. Ripley's in-depth look at the psychology of disaster response, alongside survivors' accounts, makes for gripping reading, sure to raise debate as well as our awareness of a life-and-death issue. 8 pages of color photos. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Golden Guardian Presentation & Drill 11/15/08

The Ojai Valley Emergency Response Team (Ojai Valley CERT, American Red Cross of Ventura County and Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club) held a very successful Golden Guardian Presentation and Drill on Saturday, November 15th at the New Wine Harvest Fellowship in Ojai.

Registration began at 9:30AM with over 60 people being registered.

Supervisor Steve Bennett began the presentations with a keynote address.

The next 90 minutes was packed with information from various local, city and county agencies -- see this web-site for agenda: http://sites.google.com/site/gg20081113/Home/ojai-valley-cert-drill-11-15-08

After a short break, we had a Search and Rescue Drill, using one of the church's meeting rooms. A "victim" was inside needing a stretcher and several walking wounded were inside who responded to the initial callout.

Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club worked 3 separate radio networks to manage various communications for the drill.

Battalion Chief Gurrolla observed the drill and gave constructive feedback. He was overall very impressed with the various teams and was complimentary of the attention to detail.

At the conclusion of the drill, there was an in-depth discussion about radio communications, with future planning of Ham Radio Classes.

Big thanks to the New Wine Harvest Fellowship for providing the space; Ken Williams for providing Water; Captain Steve Lazenby (Santa Paula FD) for lending his equipment; and Ojai Valley Emergency Response Team for all the planning.

Golden Guardian Drill November 13th, 2008

The following is an overview of events I was involved with during the Golden Guardian Drill on Thursday, November 13th, 2008 starting at 10AM. In the weeks leading up to the drill I worked closely with Andrea (HR Manager) of The David Allen Company in Ojai (where I work) to put together a drill.

At 10AM each of the building captains (4 buildings) blew a whistle
Everybody got under a table and held on for one minute
Another whistle was blown a minute later signaling to evacuate building
Building captains did a headcount
Andrea and Paul communicated easily between building using FRS radios
Everybody accounted for by 10:03AM
All participants convened at main HQ building for a discussion
Discussion included:
-Evacuation procedure
-Re-entry procedure to retrieve laptops, etc
-Procedure for turning off electricity to building (if needed)
-Procedure for turning off water fountain
-Locations of fire extinguishers
-Shelter-in-place location
-Water, food, medical supplies
-Out of state contacts and means of communicating
-Procedure and importance of checking-out before leaving site
-Paul communicated drill results (via GMRS & Ham Radio) to Ojai EOC

A Disaster Prep Council was formed and will meet monthly.

I was extremely impressed with how smoothly the drill went -- demonstrates what's possible if everybody knows what to do and complies.

American Red Cross Family Locator Database

Providing Safe and Well Information

https://disastersafe.redcross.org/

The above link goes to the American Red Cross Safe and Well Website. If you have been affected by a disaster, this website provides a way for you to register yourself as “safe and well.” From a list of standard messages, you can select those that you want to communicate to your family members, letting them know of your well-being.

Concerned family and friends can search the list of those who have registered themselves as “safe and well.” The results of a successful search will display a loved one’s First Name, Last Name, an “As of Date”, and the “safe and well” messages selected.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

AM 1400 KKZZ interviews Capt Steve Lazenby

Capt Steve Lazenby (Santa Paula Fire Department) was recently interviewed by Kelli McKay of AM 1400 KKZZ.

Please check this link for an informative interview on the CERT Program, including details of upcoming Golden Guardian Drill (November 13th at 10AM).

http://1400localsonly.podomatic.com/entry/2008-11-04T13_36_42-08_00

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Clocks go back -- check your smoke alarm

At 2AM this Sunday, November 2nd 2008, the clocks went back. Unfortunately, I didn't realize this until late in the afternoon, but that's beside the point.

I did remember, however, that the Fire Department encourages everyone to check their smoke alarms (twice a year during daylight time changes) -- including replacing batteries if needed.

Please review this safety briefing from Ventura County Fire Department:

http://fire.countyofventura.org/departmentservices/fireprevention/communityeduction/pdf_files/smokealarms.pdf

Local photojournalist Rob Clement wins award


Congratulations to our local photojournalist, Rob Clement, for winning 1st place in the California Newspaper Publisher Association's Better Newspaper (http://www.cnpa.com/) Contest.

Submitted feature photo is entitled, "Overflight of the Obvious".

6th Ojai Valley CERT Graduated on 11/1/08

The 6th Ojai Valley CERT class, sponsored by District Supervisor Steve Bennett, graduated and completed their final drill exercise on Saturday, November 1st -- training was provided to nearly 60 students by Capt Steve Lazenby (Santa Paula FD).

The rain abated long enough to complete all portions of the drill. A downpour began immediately after the last CERT student used their extinguisher on a fire -- created and closely monitored by the local Ventura County Fire Department. As participants sought shelter, the Firemen didn't seem bothered by the rain.

Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club (www.ovarc.org) assisted with Radio Communications.

All components of the drill (Search & Rescue, Cribbing & Lifting, Medical/Triage, Fire Suppression) went smoothly with constructive suggestions offered by Firemen.

Ventura County District 1 County Supervisor Steve Bennett officiated at the graduation ceremony -- giving out over 40 certificates and reviewing the structure of Ojai Valley CERT being organized into nine neighborhoods.

Sean Kellythorne and Paul Garth welcomed the CERT graduates into the rapidly growing organization and reviewed Incident Command System and the importance of behaving professionaly at all times. Everyone (including the public) were invited to attend the upcoming Golden Guardian Presentation & Drill on Saturday November 15th -- please review http://sites.google.com/site/gg20081113/Home for more information.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ventura County CERT Coordinator position filled

I'm very pleased to announce we now have a Ventura County Fire Department Program Adminstrator for CERT - Ramona J. Armijo, PhD.

For CERT Groups, Ramona is our liaison between Ventura County Fire Department and all Ventura County CERT groups.

This new partnership will encourage growth in CERT; create more training programs; foster a sharing of ideas; work towards fund-raising projects and grants; and build a strong community involvement towards disaster preparedness.

We are all looking forward to working with you.

Link to VCFD News Release:

http://fire.countyofventura.org/publicinformation/newsreleases/PDFs/RamonaArmijoJoinsVCFD10302008.pdf

Friday, October 24, 2008

Golden Guardian Presentation & Drill 11/15/08

On Saturday, November 15th between 10AM and 2PM, The Ojai Valley Emergency Response Team (comprising Ojai Valley CERT, Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club and American Red Cross - Ojai) will hold an Emergency Preparedness Presentation and Practical Drill.

Golden Guardian (November 13th thru 18th) is the largest statewide emergency preparedness drill in the world.

Event Location:

New Wine Harvest Fellowship
441 Church Rd. (corner of Cuyama & Church)
Ojai, CA 93023

Call to action:

-All Ojai Valley Emergency Response Team members are requested to attend
-Presentations made by various leaders of City, and County Agencies.
-The General Public are invited to listen to presentations and observe drills

Please go to this web-site for further details, including agenda.

http://sites.google.com/site/gg20081113/

6th Ojai Valley CERT Graduation & Drill 11/1/08

The 6th Ojai Valley CERT Class will hold their final class, practical drill and graduation ceremony this coming Saturday, November 1st at the Oak View Park and Resource Center, 555 Mahoney Street, Oak View. Final class is 10:00AM. Practical Drill begins at 11:00AM. Duration of drill is approximately 90 minutes.

Call to action:

-All CERT Graduates to volunteer their time to assist in the drill exercise - posing as victims; reviewing CERT activities (cribbing & lifting; fire suppression; medical/triage; Incident Command; Search and Rescue, etc).

-Ojai Valley Neighborhood Area Coordinators and NERT Coordinators to meet graduates.

-Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Operators to assist with communications

-The General Public to observe CERT in action and sign-up for next class.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ojai Day 2008 (Oct 18th -- Libbey Park)



Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club included Ojai Valley CERT in the 2008 Ojai Day Celebration in Libbey Park, Ojai on Saturday, October 18th.

CERT/Ham Radio Operators manning the booth throughout the event included:

Wayne Francis, Tim Shates, Paul Garth, Sean Kellythorne, John Cuthbert, Matt Downer and Brian Reid.

It was a great opportunity to talk Radio Communications with the public. Several CERT students stopped by (Note: The OK Sign helped!) and are now keen to get involved with GMRS radio communications. Several names were taken of interested future CERT students.

Surviving a Long Term Power Outage - Hurricane Ike

This came from a volunteer who worked during Hurricane Ike. Apologies for formatting -- don't have time to clean up the document, but useful reading.

Post by KK5CA

Surviving a Long Term Power Outage - Hurricane Ike

A fundamental principle of CERT training is to prepare individuals to bemore self-sufficient and less dependent upon the post-disaster responses. Four weeks after Hurricane Ike made landfall, and two weeks after having commercial power restored, I thought I would document what helped me make it through this extended power outage.

This was the largest power outage ever in the state of Texas, affecting more than 2.5 million residential and commercial customers, and perhaps as many as 4-5 million people. It was wide-spread and profound. A CERT-trained power company employee said his employer was very close to beginning the process of shutting down the entire SE Texas power grid (whatever that means). We were fortunate to have mild weather following this hurricane, with a few nights in the 50s and 60s,d aytime highs barely above 80, and low humidity.

I arrived home from an out-of-town trip about two days after Hurricane Ike. I thought it too far after the event to spend time performing a neighborhood disaster survey and reporting it to the county EOC.POWER Most neighbors were using gasoline, diesel, propane, or natural gas, generators during some, if not all, hours of the day. I saw a few neighbor ssharing their power, evidenced by extension cords lying across streets. My5 kW generator hooks into the house circuit breaker box through a manual Connecticut Electric transfer box. < href="http://www.connecticut-elecric.com/" target="_blank">http://www.connecticut-elecric.comhref="http://elecric.com/" target="_blank">elecric.com > This provides generator power to five pre-selected circuits: water-well pump (220V), kitchen, 2 bedrooms, and the living room. In anticipation of the storm, I topped off the 6-gallon generator fuel tank,and filled two 5-gallon cans. An outboard motor type hand siphon bulb (Attwood, from Bass Pro Shops) makes filling the tank easier than liftingthe 40+ pound gas can. 2-1/2 gallon cans might have been a better choice. I used about 30 gallons of gasoline total during the two weeks without power, at $3.50-4 per gallon.I ran the generator for only 3-4 hours in the evening to chill the refrigerator and allow the water well pump to re-charge the storage tank. It did not seem prudent to allow it to run all night long just to keep the bedroom ceiling fan running while we slept. Several neighbors did run their generators all night, perhaps even 24-hours a day.I had several 7 and 11 AH gel cell batteries that were salvaged from non-working UPS units. These powered a 12 VDC B&W analog television/AM-FMreceiver, allowing me to get the morning news without starting the generator. Running an automotive 12 VDC fan (like used to be mounted ondashboards) drained these batteries before the night was over. My 1 A gelcell charger was inadequate to fully re-charge these during 8-10 hours atwork. With just 8 V at the terminals, the maximum charging current was 0.2A, probably indicating the internal resistance has increased and thebatteries are beyond their useful life.A battery powered alarm clock (single AA cell) was useful. Many cell phones and wrist watches also have an alarm feature. WATER All homes in our neighborhood are on at least two lots with individual waterwells. When necessary, a water hose with a female x female adapter allowsone neighbor's well to temporarily provide water to another. I did notobserve this practice this time, perhaps because so many residents hadgenerators. Some co-workers dipped water from their own or the neighborhoodswimming pool to flush solid waste out of toilets. A very quick cold showerevery other day was tolerable, barely. A heavy duty hook securely placedhigh up in the shower would have allowed a solar shower bag to be used.FOODI returned home 2-1/2 days after we lost power. I discarded everything inthe refrigerator and freezer, except bottled water, soft drinks andmargarine. When some commercial stores re-opened, I was able to avoid theurgent need to visit them by eating food we already had. After a few daysand the initial surge had passed, I missed getting in the door by 15minutes. My usually open 24-hours a day store was only open 7A-7P. I triedagain the following day. All frozen, bakery, dairy, and fresh meat productshelves were completely empty. My purchases focused on non-refrigeratedfood:* tuna in water - 3 oz size cans* low sodium Ritz crackers* bananas, apples, oranges - fresh and dried* Individual cartons of 2% white & chocolate milk; similar to juiceboxes, tastes better than powdered milk, and are available in 1% and 1%lactose free. < www.farmlanddairies.com/Little%20Milk.htm >* 8 oz Minute Maid orange juice* granola bars* almonds, walnuts, trail mix* instant oatmeal* instant coffee - Nescafe Tasters Choice - 2gm packet (also availablewith cream and sugar; not tried)Once opened, food that was not immediately consumed was kept in the freezersection of the refrigerator, even if some of it occasionally became frozen.COOKINGWhen the generator was running, I had use of the microwave oven. Mostoften, I cooked on the side-burner of the propane BBQ grill, on the patio,just outside the kitchen door. I did not find it necessary to pull out the2-burner propane camping stove. One day, I grilled fresh chicken, and weate that for two consecutive meals, kept in the freezer from one meal to thenext. Most of our meals were eaten on paper plates and with plasticutensils.LIGHTINGWhen all the lights are completely out and your eyes have adjusted to thedarkness, a very bright light isn't necessary, you just need a little morelight. I do not like any flashlight which requires two hands to turn on andoff (sorry Maglight). I found a 2 AA cell flashlight with a switch and on aneck lanyard to be very useful. I purchased a Ray-o-Vac industrial model atLowes shortly before the storm. My old REI 2 AA cell headlamp was helpfulwhen cooking on the BBQ grill.Single LED stick-up lights (3 AAA cells) can be found at CVS pharmacy,around $10 for 3. Inverting a white paper or Styrofoam cup over theseproduces a nice area glow that is less annoying. I found the white lightfrom these to be more useful for reading than other light.In the bathroom, I found nothing better than a TapLight. These use 4 AAcells, and are available at many stores (Target, CVS) for $10 ea. They canbe found on many internet stores at 6 for $20-30. Buy these before thepower goes out, because they can't be found on the shelves afterwards.HOUSINGNot many modern houses are designed for temperature control without thecentral heating or cooling system. Not many even have screened windows anddoors. Temporary screens can be added to doors, allowing them to be openwhile excluding mosquitoes. Often called walk-through door screens, theycan be purchased from internet stores. < www.ecobottoms.com/category/.1/ > Installing one on our double-wideFrench door onto the patio allowed the cool night air to flow through ourhouse. I intend to purchase another one for the front door.COMMUNICATIONSThis falls into two categories; getting information from commercial sourcesand maintaining contact with family. I previously mentioned using a batterypowered analog TV and AM/FM radios. In February 2009, all non-digitalover-the-air television broadcasts will cease. Post storm, I found theequipment which might allow my battery powered analog television to beusable in the digital broadcast era. < www.ezdigitaltv.com/Artec_T3A_Pro.html >< www.winegarddirect.com/cview.asp?c=Digital%20Converter%20Boxes >Our under-ground telephone lines continued to work uninterrupted, andgenerally not overloaded. Cell phones were mostly usable, with textmessaging more reliable than making a voice call. Some people reportedhaving to drive a few miles to get a signal. My closest cell site had agenerator for the duration of the outage. My cable television and internet service was completely out for the sameperiod that I was without commercial power. Being cable-based, they do notoffer dial-up service. Once power was restored to my employer, I could readmy E-mail there.My HF and VHF/UHF equipment at home was unaffected. Not even the antennaswere damaged. This allowed voice and radio-based E-mail using the Winlink2000 system. Having redundant VHF/UHF gateway stations in the area helpedensure at least one of them survived the outage. I found several VHF 1200bps usable during the outage period, so it was not necessary to use Pactor 1(200 bps) on HF and go out of the area or to one of the in-area RMS Pactorgateway stations. That was always an option if needed.SUMMARYPre-disaster preparation can make a difference in the quality of life duringthe recovery period. I did not find it necessary to purchase ice or water.I did not need to stand in line at a POD. I did not eat MREs or otherlong-storage (and very high sodium) food. I avoided the longest gasolinelines. I think the dogma of preparing for 72-hours before help arrives iswishful thinking and the barest minimum. Rational people should think aboutbeing prepared to be on their own for at least a week after a wide spreadincident. People in the affected area are unable to do little more thanhelp themselves. Assistance must come from those who are unaffected or fromoutside the affected area; and self-sufficient and organized teams aregreatly preferred over individual responders

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club CERT Presentation

On Wednesday, October 15th, Captain Steve Lazenby (Santa Paula Fire Department) graciously gave the Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club (http://www.ovarc.org/) over 30 minutes to discuss Emergency Radio Communication with the 6th Ojai Valley CERT class.

Wayne Francis (W6OEU) led the presentation with an overview of Ham Radio, Disaster Service Worker Cards, and the upcoming Ojai Day OVARC booth.

Tim Shates (K6CTS) discussed FRS and GMRS radio and a lucky CERT student won a pair of FRS/GMRS radios. Please check-out this link for a recommended GMRS radio http://www.gmrsoutlet.com/product.php?productid=12&cat=3&page=1.

Paul Garth (KI6USA) concluded the presentation with an overview of Incident Command System, Neighborhood Areas, Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams, Rendezous Points, etc. A brief scenario was discussed regarding how a typical CERT team would enter a building during a Search and Rescue operation and communicate from the field to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

Several questions were fielded from the CERT students.

OVARC hopes that CERT students will seriously consider becoming a Ham Operator, or at least acquire a GMRS license and radio.

City Hall Presentation (Golden Guardian; Ojai OK)

On Tuesday, October 14th, Paul Garth made a short presentation to the Ojai City Council.

First topic outlined the upcoming Golden Guardian Drill - the biggest state-wide disaster response drill. On November 13th at 10AM, "Drop, Cover and Hold". More information can be found at www.shakeout.org. On November 15th from 10AM to 2PM, Ojai Valley CERT will team up with Ojai Red Cross, Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club and Santa Paula CERT to put on a combo Disaster Preparedness Presentation and practical exercise (ICS, communications, cribbing & lifting, and search & rescue). Location will be the New Wine Harvest Festival Fellowshop at Church/Cuyama Street. Public is invited.

Second topic outlined the recent success of the Ojai OK Drill.

Mayor Sue Horgan was appreciative of the report and attendance at the Council meeting.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Subscribing to this Blog using an RSS Reader

I created this blog because I wanted to:

-Avoid having to send an email out for each update
-Skip having to write a monthly newsletter
-Make it easier to point toward another's efforts on the web

It can be a challenge visiting each of your favorite web-sites to see if any new or newsworthy information has been posted.

I have the answer -- RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Readers. If all your favorite web-sites have RSS Feeders, which they typically do, then you just have one place to go to review all new postings.

An easy way to get started is to use Google Reader -- (www.google.com/reader)

To subscribe to this Blog you need to enter this:

http://ojaivalleycert.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

6 month Family Disaster & Preparedness Calendar

I can think of two major reasons why there could be resistance in preparing a disaster plan and
coming up with all the items (food, supplies, etc) on the list. Not enough:

1. Time &
2. Money

Depending on the size of your family, the list of supplies could grow relatively large and the items are not exactly free.

A possible solution is the following web-site. The idea is, over a 6 month period, to gradually create your disaster plan and steadily acquire items on the list. By chunking the whole process done, it appears overall doable. It also makes it easier to keep track of items that are nearing the end of their shelf life and need to be consumed and then replenished.

Make sure you purchase items that you will actually want to eat.

Guess what you do at the end of the sixth month? Flip back to page one and start over again.

I hope you find this link useful.

http://safetyservices.ucdavis.edu/emergency-management/familydisastercalendar.pdf

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Santa Paula Emergency Preparedness Summit, Oct 4th

Santa Paula will be hosting an Emergency Preparedness Summit on Saturday, October 4th between 9AM and noon.

Location is Limoneira Pavilion -- 55 Hallock Drive, Santa Paula.

All are welcome to come learn from the Professional First Responders and a host of Community Groups who team together during times of need.

For more information please go to:

http://santapaulacert.blogspot.com/2008/10/emergency-preparedness-summit_02.html

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ojai OK Drill survey -- call to action

Now that the 9/17/08 Ojai OK Drill is completed, The Office of Ventura County District Supervisor Steve Bennett is requesting participants to complete a survey. Surveys are being requested by October 3rd, 2008.

Survey participants would include everybody involved: Ojai Valley Residents who posted signs; Ojai Valley CERT participants; and others involved (Ham Radio, Red Cross, etc).

Please go to: http://ovok.countyofventura.org for the link to the survey.

As a bonus, this web-site conveniently has a link to the Reverse 911 signup site. I received my Reverse 911 call conveniently on my cellphone, so I know the system works.

6th Ojai Valley CERT class begins 9/24/08

On Wednesday 9/24/08, Sean Kellythorne and Paul Garth welcomed the 6th Ojai Valley CERT class (sponsored by Ventura County District Supervisor Steve Bennett) on the first day of their training (6 Wednesday evenings and 1 Saturday morning Final Drill).

The class was PACKED! -- I was really impressed with the turnout.

Capt Steve Lazenby (Santa Paula Fire Department) is the CERT instructor and was busy handing out materials -- I'm sure he was happy not having to lug it home after.

Sean and Paul's introductory remarks included: summary of the 9/17/08 Ojai OK Drill where nearly 700 signs within Ojai Valley were counted and communicated to the Fire Department within 1 hour; the front-page Ojai Valley News Article on 9/24; an appreciation for everyone's time and committment to take CERT class; a heads-up that Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club will present Radio Communications on the 4th CERT class; and finally that CERT graduates and Ham Radio Operators will be on-hand to assist at the final Saturday Drill.

Monday, September 22, 2008

OK Ojai Drill -- Paul's Summary

During the OK Ojai Drill, Paul Garth was the Neighborhood Area Coordinator for West City of Ojai -- in FRS radio communication with several NERT Coordinators and in Ham Radio communication with the Emergency Operations Center.

OK Signs Counted by Neighborhood:

Oakview------------ --- 30
Mira Monte-----------236
Meiners Oaks-------- 153
Arbolada-Foothill-----46
West City --------------84
East City --------------101
East End Ojai -------- 44
Upper Ojai --------------1
Total 695

The Ojai Valley OK Drill, performed on September 17th, 2008, accomplished its primary objective – establishing effective communication.

In the weeks leading up to September 17th, the OK Sign was distributed on various web-sites (CERT, Ventura County, City of Ojai). The Ventura County Fire Department visited with 5th Graders and left signs to take home to their families. Signs were available in banks, libraries and given out at the Ojai Farmer’s Market.

Ojai Valley Residents participated by posting their OK Signs, which in an emergency/disaster, would be used by CERT and First Responders during Search and Rescue operations. Within the 1 hour drill, 695 OK Signs were counted with totals transmitted to the Ojai Police Department (Emergency Operations Center – EOC) via Ham Radio & GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service). To preserve integrity of the drill, please ensure you take down your sign and place in a convenient location.

The Ventura County Sheriffs Department participated by calling (using Reverse 911) approximately 12,000 Ojai Valley Residents. Information included: 1. Establish and practice your “Disaster Plan”, 2. Tune your radio to AM 1610 and 3. Post your “OK” sign so it’s visible from the street. I received my message via cellphone at 5:33PM.

The Brand new AM 1610 Radio Broadcast station was used to communicate details about the drill. Please contact the Ojai Police Department to provide constructive feedback regarding the radio’s reception.

Ojai Valley CERT divided the Ojai Valley into nine neighborhoods (Casitas Springs, Oak View, Mira Monte, Meiners Oaks, Arbolada/Foothil, West City Ojai, East City Ojai, East End and Upper Ojai). Each neighborhood has a Neighborhood Area Coordinator, responsible for all CERT Operations.

To further sub-divide each Neighborhood, Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams (NERTs) were created. Each NERT Coordinator establishes a rendezvous point for their respective teams to rally together quickly.

The Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club (OVARC) provided FCC licensed operators for various positions. The EOC was manned by the Ojai Valley Emergency Coordinator (EC) who established a directed net for all Radio Operators. The EC can communicate with stations throughout the County, including the Office of Emergency Services in Ventura. Each Neighborhood Area Coordinator was provided a Radio Operator Shadow.

Within several neighborhoods, the NERT Coordinators communicated to the Neighborhood Area Coordinators using FRS (Family Radio Service) units.

During the drill, the following positions were manned at the EOC. CERT Incident Commander, Ojai Chief of Police, Ventura County Fire Department Public Information Officer and Battalion Chief.

Next to City Hall, the following were on hand – City of Ojai Mayor, Ventura County District 1 Supervisor and several aides.

Several other teams participated in the drill – American Red Cross, Oxnard CERT, and an embedded news reporter from Ojai Valley News (witnessing behind the scenes action during a search, helping count signs, and observing activities inside the EOC).

The drill demonstrated that, in an extremely short period of time, it is possible for a large community to effectively rally together. The following outcomes are possible: Fewer 911 calls; more self reliant residents; Professional First Responders focusing more specifically; City and County Officials communicating and making decisions effectively.

For further information:

-Call (805) 654-2703 to register for next CERT Class

-Download and print your OK Sign at http://ovok.countyofventura.org

Stayed tuned for the next major exercise -- Golden Guardian 2008.

OK Ojai Drill -- Sean's Summary

The following is a report from Sean Kellythorne. Sean was the CERT Incident Commander for the OK Ojai Drill and was stationed at the Ojai Police Station (Emergency Operations Center) on Ventura Street.

OK Ojai Exercise

The OK Ojai Disaster Preparedness exercise turned out to be a great success.
We had more than a hundred volunteers taking part in the exercise, including CERT trained members, Red Cross Volunteers, Ham Radio Operators and people who just wanted to help. We also had almost seven hundred families that put their “OK” signs in their windows.

The Ojai Police Department opened the Incident Command Center for our Amateur Radio Communication Unit. The Chief of Police was on site, along with the County Fire Department Battalion Chief and Public Information Officer.

The new Reverse 911 and the AM 1610 local radio were tested and shown to be invaluable tools in rapidly notifying residents of potential problems. Once the exercise started the local Incident Command System of the Amateur Radio Communication team permitted us to assess the exercise within one hour.

So what does this mean to Ojai Valley citizens? It means that the Ojai Valley is more OK than it has ever been in the event of a disaster. It means: that in a disaster every OK sign means one less home to check out; there are more than one hundred trained volunteers who can be in action immediately and supplement a limited Fire and Police force; we have an effective emergency communications network in the event power failures; it means that we have a community that cares about our families, friends and neighbors.

It also demonstrated the effectiveness of dedicated and trained volunteers supporting our community. It is a testament to the people of Ojai Valley and our willingness to volunteer and do what needs to be done for our community when the chips are down. As local Ojai Valley residents we encourage you to participate in your community as a volunteer responder.

In my opinion, Ojai Valley has proven to be more than OK. It is outstanding.

The thank you list is too long to include everyone however there are some that merit special notice.

Supervisor Steve Bennett and his representatives for Ventura County support. Ojai Mayor Sue Horgan for City of Ojai support. Chief of Police Bruce Norris for opening the doors to the Ham Radio Group. The Ojai Valley News for publicity.

Sean Kellythorne
Paul Garth
Beth Von Gunten

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ventura County Board of Supervisors Meeting

Sean Kellythorne and Beth Von Gunten of Ojai Valley CERT were invited by Ventura County District Supervisor Steve Bennett to present information on Ojai OK Drill (9/17/08) to Ventura County Board of Supervisors.

Thank you to Supervisor Bennett for effectively reviewing the intent of the drill and good job to Sean and Beth for their comments.

It was interesting listening to the other Supervisors generating comments of interest about the OK Sign Drill in their districts.

Please review the video at:

http://ventura.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=40&clip_id=1275

Board Regular Meeting - 9/9/2008 -- Jump to Section 27.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ojai CERT at Ojai Farmer's Market Sunday 14th

Ojai Valley CERT will have a table at the weekly Ojai Farmer's Market http://www.ojaicertifiedfarmersmarket.com/ to hand out information about the upcoming Sept 17th Ojai OK Drill, to discuss CERT, and sign-up people for the next class (beginning Sept 24th).

Please stop by our booth.

Update: OK... We didn't have a booth, but Sean and myself handed out over 300 OK signs which was a great opportunity.

Ojai OK Drill - specific web-sites

The Ojai OK Drill is being taken very seriously by County Supervisor Bennett's Office -- we even have a subdomain on the County Web-Site.

Check out: http://ovok.countyofventura.org

Ojai Valley CERT has a specific site at: http://sites.google.com/site/ojaiok20080917/

New CERT Class (starting Sept 24th) - sign up!!!

I'm extremely pleased to announce that County Supervisor Steve Bennett's Office will be sponsoring the 6th Ojai Valley CERT Class.

Beginning on September 24th for six Wednesdays from 7:00PM to 9:30PM, concluding with a final Saturday Class/Drill on November 1st. Capt. Steve Lazenby (Santa Paula Fire Department) will be instructing.

Please register for the class by calling Cindy Cantle at (805) 654-2703 or email Cindy.cantle@ventura.org.

Register early to reserve a spot. Timing is great, because Golden Guardian is coming up on November 13th - the biggest state-wide disaster drill in history. Check this blog for more details forthcoming.

Location of CERT Class - Oak View Park and Resource Center, 555 Mahoney Street, Oak View.

Please click here for a flyer: http://portal.countyofventura.org/pls/portal/docs/PAGE/BOS/OVOK_DOCS/CERTSIGNUPFLYER.PDF

Reverse 911 to be used before Ojai OK Drill

I've been informed by Ojai Chief of Police Bruce Norris that the Reverse 911 system will be used to communicate out to residents just before Wednesday Sept 17th at 7:00PM to remind everyone to do three things:

1. Establish and practice your Disaster Plan
2. Tune into AM Radio Station 1610
3. Post your OK sign in a street-facing window

This web-site covered the Reverse 911 system. Please ensure you register both landline and cellphone numbers.

http://ojaivalleycert.blogspot.com/2008/07/reverse-911-emergency-alert-system.html

This article from The Ojai Post goes into further details of the Reverse 911 Drill: http://www.ojaipost.com/2008/09/reverse_911_mass_call_feature.shtml

This article was posted in Ventura County Star:
http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2008/sep/13/no-headline---nxxfcreverse911-13/

Advertising the OK Sign Drill

County Supervisor Steve Bennett's office has done a great job of recognizing and advertising Ojai Valley CERT this week.

-Tuesday AM, the Ojai OK CERT Drill was recognized at the County Board of Supervisor's Meeting.

-Tuesday PM, at the Ojai City Council meeting, Supervisor Bennett detailed the specifics of the Ojai OK Drill

-Wednesday, the Ojai Valley News had a front page article discussing the new AM 1610 Radio Station and Supervisor Bennett had an OpEd piece about the CERT Drill

-Friday, the Ojai Valley News will include the OK Sign and instructions as an insert.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

CERT Online Training available

While online courses will not adequately replace in-class CERT Training, they do serve a useful purpose.

1. Overview of what's to come while you wait for the next CERT class
2. Refresher after you've taken class
3. Refresher for those interested in train-the-trainer activities

http://www.training.fema.gov/emiweb/is/is317.asp

Taking the plunge into GMRS

Because Tim Shates was talking to himself on the weekly GMRS Radio Net (Tuesday at 6:30PM), I took the plunge and became an FCC licensed GMRS Radio Operator.

Very easy to do (there is NO exam)... If you have questions, please ask -- that's how Ham and GMRS Radio works.

1. Get a GMRS license by going to the FCC web-site at:

http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.htm?job=service_home&id=general_mobile

It's $85 for 5 years and covers all within a family.

2. Buy a GMRS Radio

Send me an email (ojaivalleycert@gmail.com) and I can put you in touch with Tim Shates -- he installed a 10 watt repeater up by Thacher School and has access to cool TEKK GMRS/FRS radios.

Another option is the Midland GXT900VP4 which is a 5 WATT GMRS/FRS but doesn't talk to repeaters.

3. Plan on joining the weekly GMRS CERT Radio net (Tuesday at 6:30PM to 6:45PM). The plan is to develop an Ojai Valley Wide Radio Network -- GMRS/FRS to be used within the nine (9) CERT Neighborhoods and Ham Radio to communicate between the neighborhoods and the EOC.

Note: Keep in mind that we would like to build a GMRS Net, but also recognize the value of FRS radios -- these don't require a license but typically transmit less power.

Paul (WQJF339)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Californiia Medical Volunteer Database

I met Randy Linthicum at Operation Sunrise -- he was demonstrating an online system which registers licensed health professionals to be called upon during a disaster/emergency.

While CERT volunteers should proactively locate medical resources within their neighborhoods, this system effectively and officially manages the database.

Please go to: https://medicalvolunteer.ca.gov/

If you're a licensed health professional with an active license, or a member of a medical disaster response team in California who would like to volunteer for disaster service, you've come to the right place! The California Medical Volunteer Site is your secure, confidential site to register with the State of California for volunteer emergency/disaster service. During the on-line registration process, you will be asked to enter information regarding your license (if applicable), the best way to contact you, and other relevant background information. (If you have already completed the registration process or wish to return to a registration which you've started but not completed, you can log in and update your profile.)

The main web-site for Emergency Medical Services Authority (State of California) is: http://www.emsa.ca.gov/

Useful info to getting started in Ham Radio

The following web-sites are useful for getting started in Ham Radio.

Ham Radio Technician study material. Gordon West, is the defacto easiest study guide: http://www.amazon.com/Technician-Class-Gordon-West/dp/0945053452/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1218989758&sr=8-1

A highly recommended web-site to do a real-time self-test before taking the exam is: http://www.qrz.com/xtest2.html (Make sure you only do the Technician portion).

In order to find the next and closest location to take the Ham Radio License: http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/examsearch.phtml?State=CA (You do a "find" by area code).

A good starter radio the Ham Radio Club (OVARC.ORG) is recommending is the Yaesu FT-60R http://www.yaesu.com/indexVS.cfm?cmd=DisplayProducts&ProdCatID=111&encProdID=6EC43B29CEF0EC2B4E19BB7371688B7F&DivisionID=65&isArchived=0 (There are numerous suggestions of where to find radios, so check with the Ham Radio Club before purchasing.

Good luck.

73's

Get Ready Ojai - Disaster Preparation web-site

The Allstate Foundation generously provided the funding for this website.

Youth interns from the social marketing agency Generation Communications (Gen Com) collaborated with adults to research, write, and design the site.

Gen Com offers internships in web design, public speaking, research, marketing, and graphic design to youth 14-22. Generation Communications is a program of the Ojai Valley Youth Foundation (http://www.ovyf.org/).

Please go to: http://www.getreadyojai.com/About_Us.html

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Ojai OK Sign Drill (9/17/08) - special web-site

In order to focus on all the details surrounding the Ojai OK Sign Drill coming up on Wednesday, Sept 17th at 7:00PM, I've created a special web-site.

Please go to this site for:

-Audio Visual Presentation of all drill components
-Location to download OK Sign
-Up to the minute information regarding drill

http://sites.google.com/site/ojaiok20080917/Home

Paul's summary of Operation Sunrise

Dan Wall and Steve Johnston managed to create a very realistic exercise drill by demonstrating the abilities of professional first responders and recognizing the need and contribution of community organizations.

The Incident Command Center layout was most impressive and simulated a real scenario showing-off and using all available County Equipment. I spent the majority of the second day in the Command Center playing various roles within Operations, Logistics and Communications – valuable training that can be applied locally. I was able to request fuller integration of the Ham Radio Group into the Command Center which enhanced communication during drills and showcased their capabilities.

I was impressed with the quality of instruction during the breakout sessions and enjoyed chatting with the various vendors on-site. Capt. Lazenby was busy training a new CERT class and graduated over 30 students.

Networking opportunities abounded with interactions between law enforcement, fire, Ventura County Health, CERT/DART, Red Cross, several vendors and various medical organizations.

To get the full 36 hour experience, I stayed overnight in my car. Next time, I'm finding a cot in one of the tents that were made available!

The Disaster Drills and exciting Helicopter landings brought all training components together. Interesting to note that the second day drill was remarkably improved in many components - especially communications. Proof positive that ongoing recurrency training is a must for any Disaster Preparedness Group.

I left with a heightened awareness of requiring accuracy with all communications during drills/disasters. A section within the Incident Command Center was in real-time contact with all hospitals countywide. They were taking actual data from our drill and coordinating the intake of various categories of patients for multiple hospitals.

Overall, a very worthwhile time which included: training, networking, camaraderie, and a list of new ideas to integrate into Ojai Valley CERT. Of course, the recent earth tremor a day or so later gave us all a wake-up call to take Golden Guardian seriously in November.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Red Cross contingent during Ojai July 4th Parade


As stated in a prior posting, the Ojai Valley groups comprising CERT, Ham Radio and American Red Cross are committed to working together (while maintaining separate specialties) when called upon during a disaster or emergency.


GMRS Weekly Net (Tuesday, 6:30PM)

Tim Shates will host a weekly GMRS Radio Net on Tuesday evening from 6:30PM to 6:45PM.

The Purpose of the net is, for those with GMRS radios and licenses, to test their equipment and discuss topics of interest.

The frequency will be 462.575 simplex, which is also the repeater output frequency.

Please refer to www.ovarc.org (Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club) for other weekly nets on Tuesday evening:

-6:45PM 6 Meter
-7:15PM OVARC Weekly Net
-7:30PM Ventura County Auxiliary Communication Service (CountyWide, including Ojai Area 5)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Operation Sunrise (7/25-7/26) - still time to register

For those interested in CERT training, there is a great training opportunity during Operation Sunrise on July 25 and 26 at Cal State Channel Islands University. The training is free, but seating is limited, so sign-up soon if you would like to attend.

The County Health Department is providing a training opportunity to their staff and as part of "Operation Sunrise" there will be an opportunity for folks that want to complete the CERT classes in a short time and participate in a great drill and learning opportunity.

Visit the County website at: <http://www.vchca.org/ph/announcements.htm>
Follow the links to more information.

The training is being held at Cal State Channel Islands University and the chance to get the training done in an accelerated class is coming up on July 25th and July 26th. We want to have a large class but seating is limited and everyone in the County is being invited so reserve your seat right now. There is no charge for the training.

The classes are going to be offered starting at 12:00 noon on Friday the 25th and will continue with a few short breaks and a dinner break until about 9PM in the evening. On Saturday the classes will start early at 7:00 am and go until 12:00 noon. Following lunch, which will be provided, there will be a field activity/drill that starts at 1:00 PM to practice all of the skills that we have talked about in the classes . The drill will be huge and it will be the talk of the Emergency Preparedness community.

If you wish to spend the night at the site, the activity is planned to cover 36 hours and there will be disaster movies and popcorn for those that stay overnight on Friday.

The best way to respond and sign up for the classes is by email.

Slazenby@ci.santa-paula.ca.us

If you want, you can leave a voice message at 805-933-4297.

Sign up right now. You know you need to get this training.

Steven J Lazenby, Captain Station 81 B-Shift (805) 933-4254 ex 254
Emergency Preparedness Coordinator
805-933-4297

Ham Radio Group is growing

Congratulations goes to Paul McConnaughey (KI6RYH) of Ojai Valley CERT for passing the Ham Radio Technician License Exam.

Amateur License - KI6RYH - McConnaughey, Paul W.

As an Ojai Valley CERT Neighborhood Area Coordinator, Paul now has the ability to be in communication with Emergency Responders when all other forms (telephone, etc) have failed.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Operation Sunrise (July 25-26, 2008)

Save the Date: Operation Sunrise

On July 25-26, 2008, we will be hosting Operation Sunrise. This 36-hour-long medical surge exercise will be held at California State University, Channel Islands.

Please go to this link for more information and sign-up:

http://www.vchca.org/ph/bpo/index.htm

This will be a marathon event with great opportunities to learn from the best.

People new to CERT, or those interested in recurrency training, can complete the entire CERT program within 36 hours -- typically lasting 6-7 weeks.

RSVP to:
Diane.gilman@ventura.org
(805)-981-5331

Reverse-911 (Emergency Alert System)

Emergency Alert System Comes to Ojai
http://portal.countyofventura.org/portal/page?_pageid=817,1258021&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

The City of Ojai is excited about having joined the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department Office of Emergency Services (OES) REVERSE 911 Emergency Notification System, which allows police, fire department, and other authorities to quickly alert you about known hazards in the community.

Whenever there is a threat to public health or safety of residents, the system can deliver alerts like: evacuation notices, hazardous materials releases, community policing activities (AMBER alerts, endangered missing adults, prisoner escapes, high incidence of criminal activity, etc.), and water treatment alerts.

The system will not be used to deliver political announcements, provide information on community events, or notify residents of road closures (unless it will affect residents during an evacuation).

How It Works: The REVERSE 911 System has access to a database that includes both listed and unlisted landline phone numbers for AT&T and Verizon customers. This database, together with GIS mapping technology, makes it possible to broadcast an alert to specified areas. A recorded voice message will provide important information about a particular alert when you answer your phone, or a text message will be received if you have equipment set up for TTY/TDD messages.

Register TTY/TDD Equipment. In order to receive text messages, you must register your phone number that is associated with TTY/TDD messaging equipment.

Receive Emergency Notices via E-Mail. You can also add an e-mail address to your landline to receive e-mail notification. Send an e-mail with your phone number, contact name and e-mail address to: reverse911@ventura.org.

Missed Calls. When a broadcast alert is sent out, your phone will ring until you either pick up or your answering machine records the message. If no one answers the phone, a repeat mechanism will continue to call your number within a certain interval until the phone is answered.

Phone Number Changes. If a resident’s landline phone number changes, the database will be updated automatically to reflect that change.

Important! Register Cell Phone Numbers. The REVERSE 911 system does not automatically include cell phone numbers. Those who do not register their cell phone number will not receive notifications through the REVERSE 911 system. Make sure to register your cell phone number by using the following link: http://portal.countyofventura.org/portal/page?_pageid=817,1258038&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

Should your cell phone number change, delete the old number and add your new number to the database. Once a year, the Office of Emergency Services will contact residents via e-mail asking for confirmation that the phone number is still valid. If you do not confirm by responding to the e-mail, your cell phone number will be removed from the database.

Be Proactive, Check All Informational Resources. It’s important that you check all informational resources available even though you have signed up for REVERSE 911 notifications. In the event of a telecommunication breakdown, turn on you radio and tune in to Ojai’s Emergency Alert Radio AM 1610 for information.

You can read more about REVERSE 911 by using the following link: http://portal.countyofventura.org/portal/page?_pageid=817,1273737&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

Ojai July 4th Parade (7/4/08)

Ojai Valley CERT participated in this year's Ojai July 4th parade.

A triad of support groups marched together -- Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club, American Red Cross and Ojai Valley CERT. The three groups have seperate specialties, but share common objectives of public safety and well-being.

It was great fun having our group recognized and cheered on by "the other half of Ojai" -- those watching the parade!!


Group Photo

Parade Preparations



Friday, July 4, 2008

Congratulations to two new Radio Operators

Congratulations to Judy Bysshe (KI6RWQ) for passing the Amateur (Ham) Radio Technician Exam.

Congratulations to Deborah Walker (WQIY942) for acquiring a new GMRS license.

Ojai Valley CERT is committed in partnering with Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club (http://www.ovarc.org/) to expand radio commuications in the Ojai Valley.

Personal Radio Association FAQ (GMRS)

The Personal Radio Association promotes the use of the General Mobile Radio Service and the Family Radio Service (all of the Personal Radio Services) within the scope and definition of the services contained in the Federal Communications Commission Rules and Regulations Part 95. (FCC R&R Part 95) There is a growing interest among large and small organizations to use the inexpensive bubble-pack GMRS radios for neighborhood emergency response teams, including CERT. We have found there are misconceptions about the purpose of the GMRS and a potential for these groups to operate their radios in a fashion that is incompatible with the services. These questions are designed to help you understand the role the GMRS can play for these groups and exactly what the responsibilities of the licensee are operating a GMRS system. The PRA believes that GMRS and FRS, in particular, is an excellent communication resource for our neighborhood volunteers as long as our neighbors use the services according to the rules and in a cooperative way.

Please go to this web-link for a very informative FAQ on CERT groups using GMRS radios.

http://www.popularwireless.com/pra/PRA_CERTetal.html

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Ojai July 4th Parade -- CERT Logistics

This year Ojai Valley CERT marches in the Ojai 4th of July Parade. Following is information you need to know for joining the CERT group. If you are a CERT Student/Graduate, please join us for this fun event.

While this is a FUN event, it is also an opportunity to see how we perform in meeting various objectives:
-arriving to an event prepared, with adequate equipment
-locating and forming neighborhood groups
-forming a larger group made up of all neighborhoods
-marching a planned route
-abiding by regulations
-dealing with logistics of transportation (drop-off and pick-up)

I'm looking forward to a future debriefing meeting (time and location to be decided) to discuss any issues and areas for improvement.

What to bring:

-Water, sunscreen, munchies

-Comfortable shoes (not open-faced)

-Required CERT Personal Protective Equipment (Helmet; Vest; Whistle).
Optional: Goggles, Mask, Gloves, Flashlights, gas shutoff wrench, duct tape, etc

-Additional water...

Reason for wearing CERT Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

-While I'm sure it will be warm/hot, the public will more easily identify us wearing hard-hats and vest.

Overall Plan:

-Locate your Neighborhood Area Coordinator to form groups (by Neighborhood) by 7:30AM

-Join Parade Formation by 8:00AM

-March in Parade

-Have fun at Sarzotti Park -- old fashioned picnic, entertainment and games.

Meeting Location (Line-up Area):
-Ojai Avenue between El Paseo and Bristol -- (see map below)

Drop-off & Parking:

-There is no parking available for participants in the line-up area. Advised to drop-off at line-up area and park at end of parade route (Sarzotti Park). The Ojai Trolley will make two or three runs from Sarzotti Park back to the line-up area.

-Paul and Sean will offer rides back to the line-up area to supplement Ojai Trolley.

Neighborhood Area Coordinator assembly -- completed before 7:45AM

-Each Neighborhood Area Coordinator will have a large sign posted

-Please find and assemble by your Neighborhood Area Coordinator

What is our Parade Entry Number?

Our entry number is: 22

Formation of all Neighborhood areas into Parade by 8:00AM
-Banner Carrier

-Casitas Springs Neighborhood

-Oak View Neighborhood

-Mira Monte Neighborhood

-Meiners Oaks Neighborhood

-Arbolada Neighborhood

-West City of Ojai Neighborhood

-East City of Ojai Neighborhood

-East End Neighborhood

-Upper Ojai Neighborhood

-Santa Paula CERT (guests of Ojai Valley CERT)

-Sean's Red Truck with signs

Various information from Parade Organizers:

-There is no traffic control of line-up area before 7:00AM.

-At 7:00AM, Ojai Avenue will be closed between El Paseo and Bristol.

-After 7:00AM, you can only enter the staging area from the West, at the intersection of Ojai Avenue and El Paseo. This is the direction the parade will travel.

-There is no parking available for participants in the line-up area. We suggest you arrange to have vehicles parked at the end of the parade to be used to transport riders/walkers.

-The Ojai Trolley will also make two or three runs from Sarzotti Park back to the line-up area.

-There will be large chalked numbers on the street at the curb. Our number (22) should be location of our banner. Sean's Red Truck will be taking up the rear.

-For safety, walkers are staged on the fenced grassy area of Matilija Junior High School on Ojai Avenue.

-Parade Officials will be wearing either yellow shirts or red vests with the designation "Official" on them.

-Two (2) portable facilities will be available on the North side of Ojai Avenue near the start of the parade. Trash cans will be available.

-The Entry Marshal (Paul Garth) is responsible to see we keep appropriate space between the entry ahead of us and the one behind. Stay 5 car lengths behind the entry in front of you. Watch for signals and follow directions given.

-Park Road marks the end of the parade. No trucks/floats allowed on Park Road. Pull over to the curb between Whispering Oaks and Gridley to let any passengers off. The road is closed in this area during the parade.

-Do not turn down Bryant Street -- there is no exit and it is reserved for horses.

-Nobody allowed to return to the line-up area by walking back through Ojai Avenue while the parade is going on. (Security staff will monitor this).

-Options for returning to line-up area are: walking back via Grand/Signal/Matilija; Ojai Trail; ride the trolley back from Sarzotti to line-up area; Paul and Sean offering rides.

-Vehicles heading back to Line-Up Area: exit by continuing down Ojai Avenue to Shady Lane or Gridley, then take Grand Avenue and the detour back to the line-up area.

-Participants encourage to go to Sarzotti Park for an old fashioned picnic, entertainment and games. Awards given to Parade entries at approximately 2:30PM.


Rules to abide by while marching:

-No performances -- just marching

-No literature/material given to parade viewers

-Professionally representing CERT

Sarzotti Park: (see map below)

-End of Parade

-Picnic Area

-Awards (best entry) approximately at 2:30PM

Returning to vehicles:

-Ojai Trolley back to Line-Up Area

-Paul and Sean can take various people back to line-up area if needed

Parade Route & Map:

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=108643274145694266153.000449106b169f5f33e31&ll=34.448892,-119.247022&spn=0.01635,0.026007&z=15

For further information about the Ojai July 4th Parade, and other activities (Fireworks, Concert, etc), please go to:

http://ojai4th.org/

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wildlife Safety Fair (Fire Safe Council) on June 21st

Ojai Valley CERT participated in the 2008 Wildfire Safety Fair, sponsored by the Fire Safe Council (http://www.firesafeojai.org/), on Saturday June 21st at Nordhoff High School.

It was a great opportunity to meet the public, show off our NEW banner and detailed neighborhood maps (courtesy of County Supervisor Steve Bennett's Office), and offer information about CERT. Several people showed interest in taking the next class. Some former graduates and pending graduates stopped by to chat. Thanks to Thom Valdez for lending his pop-up tent, Nancy Thompson for the trinkets, and Brian Brennan for providing additional literature.

Ojai Valley CERT participants included Sean Kellythorne, Beth Von Gunten, Nilufer Torun, Deborah Walker, and Paul Garth.

Our group was joined by Stephanie Midgett of Rotary Club (Ojai West) who had copies of the CERT DVD on-hand.

Ventura County Fire Chief Bob Roper stopped by, giving us an opportunity to eagerly review with him what our group has been working on. He outlined a plan for further support and organization of the CERT program. We all agreed to not have any full-scale disasters/emergencies for the next 12 months (while we continue to prepare)...

On a personal note, it was REALLY hot, that day -- manageable with a small amount of suntan lotion and about 7 pints of water.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Business Disaster Prep Seminar (Ojai Chamber)

Is Your Business Ready For A Disaster?

The Ojai Valley Chamber of Commerce (http://www.ojaichamber.org) will get you started on the right track with this June workshop.

The Chamber, in conjunction with sponsors Ojai Community Bank, Ojai Valley Directory and Smart Technology Enablers, will present a business disaster preparedness workshop on Wednesday morning, June 25 at Soule Park Golf Course from 7:15AM to 8:45AM. Each person attending the workshop will receive a 50-page tool kit, "Open For Business", printed by the Institute for Business and Home Safety, and a full buffet breakfast is included in the cost.

This tool kit booklet contains guidelines and forms that any small to medium business can use to prepare itself for a disaster at a level normally attained by large corporations.
There will be a panel addressing three areas of concern in any physical disaster (fire, flood or earthquake) technology, insurance and returning the community to normalcy.

David Lawrence will address the technology area, John Maggio will address the insurance area, and Dale Hanson will speak on business' role in returning the community to a state of normalcy.

Registration and breakfast will begin at 7:15. The program will begin with an introduction by Scott Eicher, Chamber CEO, and will continue through the panelists, and there will be some time left for Q/A. The workshop will end at 8:45 a.m. Tickets are $30 for Chamber members; $40 for Non-members and at-the-door. Call the Chamber office for more details. Sponsorships for this event are still available; contact Scott at the Chamber 646-8126 or ceo@ojaichamber.org

Introduction to General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS)

20090619PG Revised re: GMRS Repeater relocated from Thacher to Ojai EOC

During every disaster post-drill debriefing, the main topic of discussion for improvement is "communication". Ojai Valley CERT is committed to having effective communication be a primary topic. While we enjoy a strategic partnership with Ojai Valley Amateur (Ham) Radio - www.ovarc.org - there are other forms of communication to learn about and use.

This posting will discuss GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service). Tim Shates (K6CTS) -- a member of OVARC -- is well-versed in Ham Radio, FRS and GMRS and contributed this article.

GMRS (General Mobile Radio Service) is a licensed service that requires no exam and includes members of the licensee’s family, including spouse, children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, and in-laws (47 CFR 95.179). The fee is currently $85 for a 5-year license. Go to the FCC website http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls for online registration.

The Ojai Valley GMRS repeater operates 24/7 on 462.575 MHz with Digitally Coded Squelch (DCS) of 054. (Duplex offsets in the GMRS band are always +5.000 MHz, meaning the repeater receives on 467.575 MHz with DCS of 054 and transmits on 462.575 MHz.) The GMRS repeater is now at the Ojai Police Department (EOC) at an elevation of approximately 750 feet. The EOC does have emergency backup power.

It is highly recommended that CERT Area Coordinators have, at a minimum, a GMRS license and at least one duplex-capable radio, such as the Icom F21GM (available at the GMRS Outlet) http://www.gmrsoutlet.com/product.php?productid=12&cat=0&page=1 or the Tekk XT-series (available from Tim Shates) http://www.tekk.us

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

CERT Forms

It is vitally important that CERT communicates accurately using plain language with standardized terminology (Minor, Delayed, Immediate), etc.

This link points to the various CERT Documents used by Los Angeles CERT.

Only difference in form is that we are in Ventura County.

Please download and prepare to use these forms in a disaster/emergency.

http://www.cert-la.com/forms/forms.htm

Operation Sunrise 2008

The Ventura County Public Health Needs You!!

OPERATION SUNRISE
Date: July 25-26, 2008; 36-hour-long medical surge exercise
PLACE California State University, Channel

Focus is on CERT Graduates or those that want to participate in a CERT crash course.

We hope to provide annual training opportunities that would complement and continue your preparedness training. We recognize that we need your assistance for us to fulfill our response commitment and we hope you look at our efforts as a continuation of your commitment.

Highlights of Operation Sunrise 2008:

A CERT and DART "Olympics" event. This event will test those skills learned in your basic training. Teams from various cities and ares will compete and at the same time train as mutual aid teams forming larger response groups.

We will be offering CERT training for 100 students. This intensive 2 day, 16 hour training will culminate in a realistic response scenario anda graduation dinner. This is the first time an effort like this has been attempted.

On going ICS overseeing the event. Come to the command tent and see ICS utilized in running this exercise. Ask questions on how ICS functions, sit in on a briefing or planning session.

The EPO realizes that we can't do it all; your participation is needed. Give me a call and let me know how we can work together to make this a great event.

Daniel Wall, RN, PHN
Education/Training CoordinatorHospital Preparedness Program
Medical Reserve Corps EmergencyPreparedness Office
EMS/CARES administrator
(805)981-5307
Cell (805)804-0646

http://www.vchca.org/ph/bpo/index.htm

What to do in an earthquake?

This is an interesting web-site that is both educational and revealing about some facts you need to know about surviving earthquakes.

http://www.nwcn.com/sharedcontent/features/flash/quake/during.html

July 4th Parade -- Ojai Valley CERT marching

The Ojai Valley CERT is proud to make a debut appearance in the Ojai 4th of July Parade. You won't miss us wearing full PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) -- Helmet, Mask, Goggles, Gloves, Vests, Gas Shutoff Wrenches, Flashlights, duct tape, scissors, Ham Radio equipment, First Aid Supplies, and anything else we can get our hands on...

Our positioning should be next to Red Cross and OVARC (Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club). The CERT group considers our parade participation a drill -- an agreement to arrive at a rendezvous point and achieve a common objective.

Santa Paula CERT graduates have been invited to join forces. Aside from CERT, our connection is sharing the same instructor -- Capt. Steve Lazenby (Santa Paula Fire Department).

Please visit the Official Ojai 4th of July web-site at --> http://www.ojai4th.org/

ARRL Amateur Radio Week 6/28/08

We would like to invite all Ojai Valley CERT graduates (especially those who have expressed interest in amateur radio!) to visit us at the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) Field Day event, to be held all day in the parking lot at Nordhoff High School on Saturday, June 28.

"Field Day" is the climax of the week long "Amateur Radio Week" sponsored by the ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio. Using only emergency power supplies, ham operators will construct emergency stations in parks, shopping malls, schools and back yards around the country. Their slogan, "When all else fails -- Amateur Radio" is more than just words to the hams as they prove they can send messages in many forms without the use of phone systems, internet or any other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis.

Please visit the Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club web-site -- www.ovarc.org

Ojai Valley Fire Safe Council Event 6/21/08

The local non-profit Ojai Valley Fire Safe Council is holding its first annual Wildfire Safety Fair on Saturday, June 21, 2008, 10 am-2 pm in the Nordhoff High School parking lot.

This family-oriented event will feature educational presentations relating to wildfire safety, as well as food, music, water play with fire hoses, Smokey Bear, free prize raffles and lots of firefighting trucks and other equipment on display.

Ojai Valley CERT, the Ventura County Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service, Ojai Police, Search & Rescue and many other groups will present information on topics such as creating "defensible space" around your home, fire safe landscaping, fire-resistant plants, animal safety during emergencies, and many other topics regarding safety and prevention.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Scouts in Tornado Help Save Lives

This news article from ABC World News highlights how a group of surving boy scouts managed to establish order out of chaos after a tornado smashed through their camp.

While the story includes tragedy of four scouts, the survivors immediately put into action their training and skills and averted an even bigger tragedy.

We in CERT can learn something from the Boy Scout Motto -- "Be Prepared".

http://www.abcnews.go.com/WN/Weather/Story?id=5053388&page=1

Sunday, June 8, 2008

5th Ojai Valley CERT Graduation & Drill (6/7/08)

The 5th Ojai Valley CERT class completed their final class, participated in a live drill exercise and graduated on Saturday, June 7th, 2008.

This web-site gives action photos of exercises including:

-Incident Command System
-Communications
-Cribbing and Lifting
-Search and Rescue - lift & carry
-Triage
-Fire Suppression

http://picasaweb.google.com/OjaiValleyCERT/5thOjaiValleyCERTGraduationDrill

USGS Earthquake simulation

This web-page gives a sobering example of the powerful effects an earthquake can have.

The USGS and Southern California Earthquake Center ShakeOut Simulation workgroup put together a simulation by Rob Graves, URS/SCEC. Visualization by Geoff Ely, USC/SCEC.

http://urbanearth.gps.caltech.edu/shakeout/

Thursday, June 5, 2008

5th Ojai Valley CERT Graduation Saturday, 6/7/08

The 5th Ojai Valley CERT training course will have their graduation and final drill on Saturday June 7th from 10:00AM to approximately 12:00PM at the Oak View Park and Resource Center.
All CERT graduates and Ham Radio Operators are invited to attend the drill -- participating as victims, communications officers, etc.

All Ojai Valley CERT Neighborhood Coordinators are invited to attend to represent your neighborhoods and introduce yourself to the new graduates.

Friday, May 16, 2008

OVARC presentation for 5th CERT class

The Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club (OVARC) presented on Thursday, May 15th an "Introduction to Emergency Communications", focusing on Ham Radio, to the 5th Ojai Valley CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) class. Capt Steve Lazenby (Santa Paula Fire Department and CERT instructor) generously gave the group over 30 minutes to deliver their presentation and graciously introduced us as an important, and often under-estimated, group of dedicated communications volunteers.

Tim Shates (K6CTS) began with a discussion about various communication mediums, which are readily available without requiring formal training -- GMRS (FCC license without exam offering ability to use repeaters for extended range), FRS (public channels useful for local communications), CB Radio (typically used on freeways, but still popular within cities). A lucky winner was the recipient of a pair of FRS (Family Radio System) radios, donated by Tim.

Sean Kellythorne (KI6MGI) reviewed various components of CERT being developed in the Ojai Valley with a focus on the upcoming two-day Ham Radio class being offered, during September 2008, by Ham Radio veteran trainer Gordon West. OVARC has negotiated a great deal for all CERT students/graduates -- the only costs are the nominal fees for materials and testing (approximately $30). The normal $300 per participant fee is being waived by Mr. West. Sean reminded the class that CERT graduates would be invited to assist in the upcoming graduation/drill and the designated Neighborhood Area Coordinators would be invited to introduce themselves.

Wayne Francis (W6OEU), Ventura County Area 5 Emergency Coordinator (participating as a CERT student) representing Amateur Radio for the Ojai Valley, spoke about the importance of all forms of communications -- including groups such as VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster). Wayne frequently reminds us that there are many voluntary opportunities within disaster communications which do not require Ham Radio licensing.

Capt Bruce Norris (Ventura County Deputy Sheriff, based in the Ojai Valley) was acknowledged as being very supportive of OVARC by providing space within the Police Department on Ventura Ave in Ojai -- the official Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during an emergency/disaster. OVARC houses radio/computer equipment and has several dedicated antennas mounted on the roof. Capt Norris is attending the CERT class as a student -- indicative that Professional First Responders are always learning & training.

The nine Ojai Valley CERT neighborhoods, as defined by Ventura County Supervisor Steve Bennett's office, was outlined for review -- Casitas Springs, Oak View, Mira Monte, Meiners Oaks, Arbolada, West Ojai, East Ojai, East End and Upper Ojai.

Paul Garth (KI6USA) related components of CERT training to communications by dividing the defined nine neighborhoods into NERTs (Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams), with the importance of each CERT member knowing who the following are within their neighborhood: Area Coordinator, NERT Coordinator and (most importantly) the specific location of their pre-assigned rendezvous point. A discussion of the Incident Command System explained the reporting & communications relationship of CERT to the Fire Department, with the importance of establishing communications and following specific directives as trained in class. An example described how a mobile home park (NERT) could effectively use FRS radios to gather information (using standard Fire Department terminology). The NERT Coordinator gathers actionable information and requests a Ham Radio Operator to transmit information/requests to the Area Coordinator and EOC for delivery to the Fire Department - CERT teams can support Emergency Response Personnel in efficiently providing frontline information.

The presentation ended with an invitation for all CERT students/graduates to attend the upcoming Ojai 4th of July Parade -- displaying a level of committment to the CERT program for the City of Ojai.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Volunteers needed for automobile extrication drill

The Ventura County Fire Department is looking for volunteers on Tuesday, May 13th to simulate being patients/victims for an upcoming automobile extrication exercise - removing victims from vehicles, described as heavy rescue scenario.

Tuesday, May 13th make-up starts at 8:30 a.m. Drill starts at 10:30 a.m.- 12 noon (end time is estimated).

This is a practical learning exercise for Academy students. Volunteers will be made up with "injuries."

The drill will be held in the Ventura County Fire Department Training area at the Camarillo Airport, near the Emergency Services/Training building.

There is a 2-hour window to get injury make-up on everyone. Not everyone needs to come at the beginning of makeup. We are hoping for a big group, so I suggest not coming at the end of the makeup time or there may not be time to apply it.

What to wear? Something casual that you don't mind getting messy!

If interested, please email: joncee.kohls@ventura.org, or call (805) 389-9745. If you need directions to the area, volunteers can let me know and I will email a map.

Thanks! Joncee

Joncee Law Kohls
Volunteer Coordinator
Phone (805) 389-9745
Fax: (805) 383-4766
email: joncee.kohls@ventura.org
Ventura County Fire Department
Office of Community Education
165 Durley Ave.Camarillo CA 93010

http://fire.countyofventura.org/departmentservices/fireprevention/communityeduction/becoming_a_volunteer.asp

Ham Radio Training & Licensing Opportunity

OVARC (Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club) seeks CERT Students and CERT Graduates interested in attending a 2-day Ham Radio Training course, followed by the exam for licensing. Jim Roberts (of OVARC) is inviting a well known Ham Radio Trainer (Gordon West) to Ojai if we can fill 60 spots. The instructor is waiving his usual $300 registration fee, so this is a great opportunity.

If you have an interest, please respond to Brian Brennan (Office of Ventura County Supervisor Bennett) via email by May 13th, 2008 -- Brian.Brennan@ventura.org

OVARC is trying to organize a Amateur Radio Technician Licence Class for CERT members in Ventura County. The technician class licence is an entry level licence that would allow the individual the use of the VHF and UHF bands (local communications). An amateur radio licence no longer requires Morse Code.

We hope to arrange the class for later this summer or early fall. In order to bring in the instructor we would like to have teach it, we need to have at least 60 people (all either CERT graduates or currently attending CERT class that agree to attend). This would be a two day class on a Saturday and a Sunday. The cost of the class would be about $39 which would include pre-study materials and examination fee. The instructor who would be teaching this class normally charges $300 for the same class - only CERT people can get this discount. He is essentially teaching the class for free, individuals are only paying for the study materials ($25) and exam fees ($14) they will be receiving. He has a very high success rate. I expect everyone who applies themselves and does some pre-study would pass.

At this time we would like to get an idea how many people may be interested to see if we can go forward with the additional planning necessary to put the class together.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Decontamination Training at Ojai Hospital

On Friday May 23rd and Thursday August 21st, the Department of Ventura County Public Health will present a Decontamination Training (Mass Casualty/Medical Surge) at The Ojai Valley Community Hospital.

Further details will be made available closer to the event, but the major components will include:
-Incident Command
-START triage
-Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
-Decon Tents

Volunteers are invited to participate (simulating as victims) to aide in the exercise. The organizers will only be simulating decontamination, and the volunteers will not be required to disrobe or get wet. CERT students/graduates are encouraged to participate as it offers first-hand experience during a disaster and supports our First Responders in their training. During an actual disaster, CERT can provide community assistance which reduces the inevitable surge towards the hospital and medical centers.

Nancy Thompson, Operations Coordinator for The Ojai Valley Community Hospital, has been a big supporter of Ojai Valley CERT -- both by graduating from the program and for generously providing meeting space for our group.

Please contact Nancy at 805-640-2205 for more information. The Ojai Valley Community Hospital's web-site is: http://www.ojaihospital.org/

Red Cross "Disaster Preparedness" presentation

The Red Cross will be hosting a free presentation entitled, "Disaster Preparedness" at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, corner of Ojai Ave and Bristol Road, on Saturday 4/26/08 from 9AM to 11AM.

Everyone is welcome. Learn how to build a disaster kit and make a disaster plan to keep you safe in the event of fire, flood and other disasters. Kits will be available.

Call (805) 339-2234, ext. 269 if you have any questions.

For further information and driving directions, visit the St. Andrew's Episcopal Church web-site at: http://www.standrewsojai.org/display.php?id=1

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Heater Meals (Self-Heating Technology)

Wayne Francis (W6OEU) is the Ojai Valley Emergency Coordinator (Area 5) for the Ventura County Auxiliary Communication Service (VC-ACS). He also heads the Ojai Valley Amateur Radio Club (www.ovarc.org).

At a recent meeting he mentioned a great idea for stockpiling food supplies - http://www.heatermeals.com/. Legend has it the food was taste-tested at The Pentagon and received rave reviews.

Ojai Valley CERT & OVARC is not affiliated with this company, but it's worth taking a look because it's a great concept.

5th Ojai Valley CERT Training Class starts today

CERT Training (Ojai Valley) -- Still accepting students

The 5th CERT training course (6 classes & 1 drill) began today (April 24th) from 7:00PM to 9:30PM at the Oak View Park and Resource Center. Classes are held on: Thursday, April 24th, May 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th and a graduation/final drill on Saturday, June 7th. Contact Cindy Cantle at (805) 654-2703 to register.

http://fire.countyofventura.org/cert/

Missed classes can be made up at other CERT trainings in Santa Paula, Ventura, etc.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Emergencity goes online today (4/14/08)

Recently, I had an opportunity to chat with Tyler Suchman -- founder of http://www.ojaipost.com/. During our conversation, I learned of another venture he founded called Emergencity (http://www.emergencity.com/), which went live today (April 14th, 2008). While the scope of Emergencity is nationwide, and even worldwide, we are fortunate here in Ojai, CA to have local access to the founders.

Within each emergency drill (CERT, City, County) I've been involved in, the key component requiring improvement is communications.

I look forward to ongoing collaboration between Ojai Valley CERT, Ham Radio and Emergencity wherein trained volunteers and the community partner in effectively bringing their city back online after an emergency/disaster.

"Emergencity provides local communities with a proven and sophisticated web communications infrastructure, empowering citizens with access and interactivity for events, businesses, jobs, blogs, video and more. By establishing a scalable, reliable community hub, Emergencity enables next-generation emergency and crisis management through effective aggregation and distribution of critical information, or actionable intelligence, from all corners of the community. Emergencity's products are designed to benefit the social fabric of a community, including volunteerism, commerce, culture, and philanthropy". (http://www.emergencity.com/)

Please go to (and bookmark) http://www.emergencity.com/ for more information.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Great Southern California ShakeOut!!

The Great Southern California ShakeOut

A week-long (Nov 12-16, 2008) series of special events that will inspire southern Californians to get ready for big earthquakes and keep our disasters from becoming catastrophes.

Thursday, November 13th at 10AM - become part of a statewide coordinated drill.

Ojai Valley CERT is planning for local activities during this period.

http://www.shakeout.org/getinvolved.html for more information

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Search Dog Foundation

Ojai Valley CERT is privileged to have the Search Dog Foundation headquartered here in Ojai, California.

The mission of the Search Dog Foundation is to produce the most highly trained canine disaster search teams in the nation. The job of these teams is to find people buried alive in the wreckage of natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

Go to http://www.searchdogfoundation.org/98/html/index.html for more information.

Ventura County Sheriff Search & Rescue Team

The Ventura County Sheriff Search and Rescue team, based in Upper Ojai, is a nonprofit, volunteer organization formed in 1951 to provide the Ventura County Sheriff's Department with a group of highly trained rescuers for the Ojai Valley. The Upper Ojai team is uniquely qualified to locate, render aid, and provide expedient services to persons in distress; to minimize loss of life, injury, and property damage; and to provide recovery services as needed — always with concern for the safety of all parties.

Go to http://www.ojaisar.org/ for more information.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sheriff Brooks talks with Ojai Valley Woman's Club

Ventura County Sheriff Bob Brooks was guest speaker at today's (4/3/08) Ojai Valley Woman's Club monthly meeting (441 E Ojai Ave in Ojai, CA).

Topics included various challenges police encounter; communication enhancements with Reverse-911; online information (county web-sites) during emergencies; and various topics covering terrorism. After handing out copies of a "Home Safety Emergency Plan" - sponsored by The Ventura County Sheriff's Foundation (http://www.vcsheriffsfoundation.com/) -- to all members, he explained the importance of being prepared for emergencies -- especially fires, with possible evacuations.

I had an opportunity to promote CERT and strongly recommended the importance of training -- mentioning the next CERT class beginning end of this month. I also plugged the "People Like You" DVD and raised the idea of the Club presenting the video during one of their social evenings.

I attended the meeting not preparing to talk -- just shows what opportunities can arise to spread the message of CERT.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Acquiring Emergency Supplies (American Red Cross)

There are many locations for acquiring Emergency Supplies. One organization is well known -- The American Red Cross:

http://www.redcrossstore.org/

Some of the proceeds go towards supporting the Red Cross.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

CERT DVD - "People Like You"

Walk Your Talk Productions (sponsored by The Rotary Club of Ojai-West) produced a very informative introduction to CERT in DVD format.

By distilling the highlights from a recent CERT class into a 77 minute piece they effectively inform the audience about the realities of disasters, how to prepare and how to respond. The material is very useful for CERT graduates as both a training review and a reminder of areas to re-focus on.

They are having a "Fire Sale" right now for $10/copy -- discounted from $20 (while a very minor fix is made to the chapter section).

It's not a big deal, so grab them while they're hot! www.walkyourtalkproductions.com