1. #1
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    Post Citizen Corps Council programs

    Residents volunteering to help in emergencies
    dewfnklm
    By DAVID TIRRELL-WYSOCKI
    Associated Press Writer
    CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Before the smoke had cleared from the
    terrorist attacks in 2001, Americans all over the country tried to
    find ways to help - sending money, giving blood, pitching in any
    way they could.
    Recognizing an opportunity to tap the surge of volunteerism and
    a need to prepare people to handle emergencies, the federal
    government set up a system to help communities recruit volunteers
    to deal with everything from floods to fires and earthquakes to
    mountain searches, power outages and blizzards.
    "It's not thinking that the Taliban are coming over here,"
    said Derry Fire Chief George Klauber. "It's more than that.
    September 11th highlighted the need for this. There are so many
    people who want to help, so let's find a way to channel it."
    Twenty New Hampshire communities already have established groups
    as part of the Citizen Corps Council program. Councils made up of
    emergency officials, businesspeople, school officials, clergy and
    residents set their own goals, then can apply for federal money to
    help meet them.
    So far, said Mike Pecheco, the Citizen Corps Homeland Security
    Coordinator in the state, most have set up Citizen Emergency
    Response Teams to train civilians to help fire, police and
    emergency medical services.
    "It started with the awareness of terrorism," he said. But the
    groups can focus on any local concern, such as planning what to do
    if earthen dams burst in Colebrook, to turning people out to search
    for lost hikers in the White Mountains.
    "After 911, a lot of people wanted to do something and didn't
    know what to do," said Dick Masters, a member of the CERT team in
    Waterville Valley and Thornton.
    "I've been volunteering most of my life on the local rescue
    squad and on the ski patrol for 30 some-odd years and I didn't feel
    comfortable staying active in those organizations," said Masters,
    70. "But I still felt I had a lot of skills to contribute, so when
    this came out of the blue kind of, I said 'Gee, that's some way I
    can get involved."'
    CERT training is a 20-hour course that includes search and
    rescue; biohazards; first aid; and the incident command system,
    which emergency personnel use to delegate tasks and set up chain of
    command.
    "The idea is to train, train, train as many people as you can
    possibly touch," Pecheco said.
    Part of the training involves knowing when not to respond.
    "We don't want to get in the way," Masters said. "When the
    alarm goes, we don't. It's got to be a major things ... where they
    need a few extra hands, and they will call us out."
    Pelham already has 16 trained CERT members, and is beginning
    another training on Monday.
    "It's taking off real fast right now across the country," Fire
    Prevention Officer Richard Hanegan said. "It's the active
    participation of ordinary citizens being prepared for something to
    happen, and to help."
    Hanegan said Pelham activated its CERT team when flooding
    threatened the town this spring, but "the rain stopped just in
    time," and firefighters handled the situation - mostly pumping
    water from basements.
    His team members spend time at the fire station, go on calls and
    help with patients.
    "They are beneficial to us, but they also are beneficial to
    their neighborhood and their family," he said, especially if major
    problems leave neighborhoods isolated.
    Derry Chief Klauber said that's the perfect situation for CERT
    trained volunteers.
    "They can help their community, block or neighborhood sustain
    themselves until we can get to them," he said.
    Klauber said Derry is working with a dozen neighboring
    communities setting up a Medical Reserve Corps as a backup for
    medical crews and CERT teams for other emergencies.
    He said a flood this spring would have been a perfect chance for
    a team to go into action. A neighborhood was cut off by rising
    water, and having CERT team members living in the isolated area
    would have been helpful. Emergency services couldn't drive to the
    neighborhood for a day.
    Derry will begin recruiting CERT team members by the middle of
    next month, after outlining "very clear and established roles."
    "Without training and roles, would spend more time wasting time
    explaining what to do," he said.
    Initial training is important, but Klauber and others said
    volunteers must have frequent drills, with the trained
    professionals, to stay sharp and motivated. Some communities plan
    monthly training and will invite the volunteers to drill with
    police officers, firefighters and hospitals.
    Pelham is looking into designing uniforms. Derry is getting
    shirts, hats and ID badges for its volunteers.
    "We want them to realize they are a very important part of our
    team," Klauber said.
    Back in Thornton, the local Citizen Corps Coordinator, Steve
    Medaglia, said his CERT group expects to help at emergency shelters
    if residents need to be evacuated from their homes.
    The idea came up not long ago when people were forced out by an
    ammonia leak in Waterville Valley, he said.
    The group has bought two emergency response trailers with
    Homeland Security grants and will stock them with blankets, cots,
    generators, water and food. They might be used during evacuations,
    or be field headquarters during mountain searches.
    He said Thornton and Waterville Valley plan to dedicate their
    team of 24 volunteers on the 17th.
    Medaglia has high hopes, because the teams run with strict
    guidelines and are part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
    "It's not a fly-by-night group," he said.
    "We emphasized to our members that this is not an organization
    for cowboys," he said. "We are not looking for people to go
    outside the bounds of what we are trained to do or asked to do."
    At first, Medaglia said there was some cynicism about the
    program, based on past dealings with the government.
    "But in this case, they have tried to strip away the
    bureaucracy and are making the programs work at the local level,"
    he said.
    Grants, once approved, are delivered quickly - often within two
    weeks, Pecheco said.
    "This is an unbureaucratic program," he said. "Towns already
    have ... a structure for emergency response. So let's not change
    them. Let's support them with the funds they need."
    Medaglia is impressed. "In 30 years, I've never seen a program
    work this quickly. It's given it a lot of credibility."
    ---
    On the Net:
    www.citizencorps.gov
    www.volunteernh.org
    www.pelhamfire.com

    (Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  2. #2
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    CERT is reinventing the wheel. And none of this would be necessary if the government had properly funded and supported local Civil Defense teams for the past 30 years. Instead, these groups which had built up stocks of disaster supplies and developed trained cadre of volunteers were allowed to fade away from lack of funding and support from any level of government. Equiptment was allowed to fall into disrepair or thrown away without replacement after becoming dated. Recruitment and training ceased as funding and missions moved from local Civil Defense to State and National Emergency Management efforts. I know of one small town Civil Defense team which, like some VFDs, survives entirely on what it raised each year at a booth at the annual Strawberry Festival.
    ------------
    This quote-
    "They can help their community, block or neighborhood sustain
    themselves until we can get to them," he said.
    ----------
    Sounds like Block Captains who would, as a member of the local Civil Defense, organise volunteers within his neighborhood until help arrives. Another example of reinventing the wheel.
    ----------
    This quote-
    "The group has bought two emergency response trailers with
    Homeland Security grants and will stock them with blankets, cots,
    generators, water and food. They might be used during evacuations,
    or be field headquarters during mountain searches."
    ---------
    Depending on the resourses already within the community this could likely be a duplication of services. Since the whithering death of local Civil Defense here the mission of sheltering and mass care has fallen on the American Red Cross (ARC). Where I live the ARC has prepositioned trailers containing virtually the same equiptment mentioned above. These trailers would be available to a community when needed and could be retreived by a ARC shelter manager for use in a very short time. The ARC offers classes in Disaster Services, Shelter Operations, Mass Care and Feeding, Damage Assessment and Family Services. In addition to the prepositioned trailers the ARC Emergency Response Vehicles (ERV) can be operated by trained volunteers and sent into an area with food, water and other supplies when needed. Should local resources be overwhelmed, ARC can activate response teams from outside the affected area and have them respond with additional equiptment and ERVs.
    Spending federal dollars and recruitment efforts on a program like CERT when existing organisations which are already performing the same missions are desperately short of volunteers and funding is nothing short of criminal.

  3. #3
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    CERT is a good program. I teach the disaster firefighting unit here when we do the program.
    We try to cycle about 4 classes a year.

    CERT is not re-inventing the wheel, its putting air in the tires.
    I dont know about strawberry stands down there cellblock but here we are full fledged department with our own budget from the city,cherry shoot money from the state and money from Uncle Sam. I know we also get about 5k from Uncle Sam for each CERT class we do.

    CD is dead,it is a dinosaur of the cold war. CD did not adapt its mission to reflect a changing enviroment therefor it died. It did not market its self. CD was setup for air raids and H bombs.

    Its offspring OEM has a much more diverse role than duck and cover and filling sandbags. OEM is setup to handle about anything that can be thrown at it. OEM is not just a name change, its a culture and mission change. Here the CD saw its days were numbered and increased and diversefied thier role and marketed themselves to the people they served. They survived and thrived.
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

  4. #4
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    Thumbs up

    Here it is called NERT. I have two more classes to go before I get my NERT certificate. The classes are quite good and very well presented by the SFFD. We also have the option (voluntary) to be registered with the state of CA as a NERT volunteer (which of course I submitted my paperwork for).

    Currently there are approximately 11,000 people in San Francisco who have taken the training. Thumbs up to the SFFD!!!!

    Cheffie
    Last edited by superchef; 06-15-2004 at 04:01 PM.

  5. #5
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    Originally posted by stm4710
    CD is dead,it is a dinosaur of the cold war. CD did not adapt its mission to reflect a changing enviroment therefor it died. It did not market its self. CD was setup for air raids and H bombs.

    Its offspring OEM has a much more diverse role than duck and cover and filling sandbags. OEM is setup to handle about anything that can be thrown at it. OEM is not just a name change, its a culture and mission change. Here the CD saw its days were numbered and increased and diversefied thier role and marketed themselves to the people they served. They survived and thrived.
    First you dismiss CD as a dinosaur. Then you say that where you are CD realised that it needed to diversefy and after doing so they survived and thrived. I'm glad that your CD has survived. Why couldn't the federal government provided funding and encouraged recruitment in the same programs 30 years ago instead of letting them die out.
    5K for each class taught? WOW. The small CD group I'm familiar with works for 2 days at the festival to raise less than half that and then they make it last the entire year. Luckily most of their gear such as barricades and radios is donated.
    Your post just reinforces what I was saying. If CD had been properly funded, given guidance and proper training provided there would be no reason to rebuild it with a fancy new title, CERT. The Feds let CD fail and suddenly they are are dragging it out of retirement, slapping a fresh coat of paint and a new name on it and trying to get everyone excited about something it should have been doing for years.
    I'm not impressed.

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