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)

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:


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


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.


Operation Sunrise 2008

The Ventura County Public Health Needs You!!

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
Cell (805)804-0646


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.


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".


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
-Cribbing and Lifting
-Search and Rescue - lift & carry
-Fire Suppression


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.


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.