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, 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)


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


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).


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:


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.