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)

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


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:


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.


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


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.