Welcome to Ojai Valley CERT




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)

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


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.