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)

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
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.