When a disaster strikes, it may be several days before emergency services arrive in your neighborhood. Join the Santa Clara County Fire Department for a free online class on Tuesday, January 12 at 10:00 a.m. to learn about disaster risks in the Bay Area, how to plan for and prepare for a disaster, and how to stay informed during and after a disaster. Register today!
Dear Saratoga CERT Member,
New, longer-range handheld radios are being delivered to CERT members who requested them. Learn how to use these new radios during a virtual training on Saturday, October 17 at 1:00 p.m. Access information for the training is below.
CERT Radio Training – Saturday, October 17 at 1:00 p.m.
Meeting ID: 857 3757 3365
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City of Saratoga
With Covid-19 the mission of the American Red Cross to alleviate human suffering caused by disasters has not changed, just the way we do it. These changes include mandatory screening, more space per cot to promote social distancing, new methods of feeding, smaller sheltering teams, and much, much more. The American Red Cross has put together a 45 minute video presentation available to anyone through YouTube that showcases this new sheltering doctrine. We are recommending that you share this with your employees and CERT members so they can get up to speed on how the ARC recommends shelters to be set up and run. It could take the ARC several days to muster resources from outside the region to take over shelter operations, which may initially need to be set up and run by local government jurisdictions.
You can access the “Covid-19 Shelter Training for ARC Partners” through the following link. Note that you’ll initially be taken to a simple registration page before getting the link to the actually video. The registration link is: registration form
If members of your team have not taken Shelter Fundamentals yet then it is recommended that they take this and two additional training classes, all of which are also available on YouTube. Links to these 3 classes, which include Shelter Fundamentals, a short Sheltering in a Covid-19 Environment video, and a short video on Covid-19 Shelter Assignments, can be found on page 48 of the “Covid-19 Shelter Training for ARC Partners”.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.”
American Red Cross Volunteer
Silicon Valley Chapter Mass Care Coordinator
A Zoom remote meeting of the City of Saratoga CERT Leadership Team was conducted on Friday morning, 31 July. Meeting attendees were: Crystal Bothelio (City of Saratoga Assistant City Manager), Jim Foley (Vineyards of Saratoga CERT Division Lead), Jessica Fullmer (Quito/West Valley CERT Division Lead), Brent Hailpern (Saratoga CERT IT Lead, AEC/SARA-CERT Liaison), Peter Melhus (AEC/SARA-SCC-ARES-RACES Liaison and Cox Division Comm Lead), Davina Morgan-Witts (Argonaut CERT Division Lead), Craig Pietrow (Saratoga CERT Logistics Lead), Chuck Rader (Saratoga CERT Volunteer Program Lead), Lori Stafford (Saratoga CERT Medical Ops Lead), and Jeff Walker (SCC Fire Department CERT Program Liaison, AEC/SARA-SCC-OES Liaison).
Four topics were discussed during the videoconference; these were: (1) CERT refresher training during the COVID-19 pandemic; (2) supplies, logistics and the City of Saratoga CERT budget; (3) CERT operations during the pandemic; and (4) inclusion of minors (16 and 17 year olds) in the Saratoga CERT program.
The last in-person CERT Academy and refresher training sessions were conducted by the Santa Clara County Fire Department CERT Training Team in January 2020. At this time, no schedule is available as to when in-person training will resume. Gracie Hernandez, the Santa Clara County Fire Department CERT Liaison Senior Program Specialist, is awaiting guidance from Suu-Va Tai in the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) CERT Liaison department on State initiatives in regard to CERT training. Once this guidance is available, Gracie will be formulating a plan for both Academy and refresher training.
In the meantime, in a proactive stance, Saratoga CERT leadership will be sending out a survey to all active Saratoga CERT members soliciting feedback on what training they would like to see and in what format the training should be conducted. Crystal Bothelio and Chuck Rader will then coordinate with Gracie on targeting our city’s training needs.
- Supplies, Logistics and our CERT Budget
Priorities for CERT supplies and operating equipment were discussed. It was determined that our highest need right now is for a reliable longer-range radio to replace our existing very-short range Floureon M-880 FRS radios. A communications working group is looking into what licensing, fees, and paperwork are required, and purchasing options are available, to procure Baofeng UV-5R Dual Band 2-Way radios for CERT field operations on five mobile/commercial bands. This project is moving forward.
The following decisions were also made: (1) to procure approximately ten “empty” CERT backpacks to allow for the build-out of fully-equipped “to go” backpacks for any potential/future CERT Academy graduates; and (2) to defer procurement of replacement N95 respirators, latex medical examination gloves, and disposable medical gowns (PPE), to “backfill” those items that Saratoga CERT donated to the Valley Medical Center Foundation back in March 2020 to support an immediate need by Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.
- CERT Operations during the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Leadership Team discussed a wide range of concerns regarding Saratoga CERT activation during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It is recognized that a greater preponderance of our CERT membership are of an age that places them at higher risk of disease. In light of this fact, it is also cognized that some of our CERT volunteers may be reluctant to participate in CERT duties and activities should there be a “real world” emergency requiring CERT activation by the City of Saratoga.
In an effort to determine how much support that the City of Saratoga may realistically see from its CERT membership in a “real world” disaster, it was agreed by the Leadership Team that Chuck Rader, Jeff Walker, and Davina Morgan-Witts would structure a survey questionnaire to solicit direct feedback from all active CERT members on each member’s willingness and ability to perform specific CERT field tasks if a CERT activation order is issued. This survey will be included in an e-mail message to each active CERT member, to be sent NLT Friday, 07 August 2020.
- Inclusion of minors (16 and 17 year olds) in the Saratoga CERT program
At present, the Santa Clara County Fire Department CERT Training Team allows teenage minors (i.e., 16- and 17-year olds) to participate in CERT Academy training as long as they are accompanied in the training by a parent or legal guardian. This affords the minor the ability to assist their own family in the event of an emergency, as well as provide valuable training that may be of use as that individual proceeds through life.
The wider question of allowing 16- and 17-year old minors to actively participate as credentialed Disaster Service Worker volunteers (DSW-V) in the CERT program is more problematic due to liabilities concerns involving both the State of California and the City of Saratoga. There may be some leeway in having minors contribute as “intern” CERT members with their duties and responsibilities limited to certain specific (and documented) tasks, under specified levels of supervision. It was agreed that Crystal Bothelio would research the City’s position on minor’s participating in volunteer activities that could potentially put them in some risk, and further discuss this issue with the City of Saratoga City Manager.
The next Saratoga CERT Leadership Team Zoom Meeting will be conducted on Wednesday morning, 30 September 2020, at 11:00 a.m.
To all of our Saratoga CERT Team,
We are saddened to inform you all of the passing of our fellow CERT member, John Suckow. John passed away at the age of 78 on June 21st, 2020, surrounded by his family, after a long battle against prostate cancer. A long time stalwart and dedicated member of the Argonaut CERT Division, John could always be relied upon to actively volunteer for all training evolutions, exercises, and CERT community outreach opportunities. He had a long personal history of service to nation and community, having served seven years on active duty in the United States Navy where he earned his “wings of gold” and, as a Naval Aviator, flew a multitude of combat missions from Gulf of Tonkin-deployed aircraft carriers during the Vietnam conflict. For his combat bravery and heroic performance of flight duties, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, multiple Navy Commendation Medals, and a Presidential Unit Citation. After retiring from a very successful career in the office supply and corporate printing business, John became a volunteer docent aboard the decommissioned aircraft carrier and museum ship USS Hornet (CV/CVS-12), berthed at Alameda Point at the former Naval Air Station Alameda. He also served as a local volunteer docent at the Moffett Field Historical Society Aviation Museum aboard the former Naval Air Station Moffett Field.
John’s strong personal initiative, enthusiasm for life, and great sense of humor will be sorely missed by all who knew him. The following are links to John’s full obituary, as well as a Guest Book tribute page for those who would like to provide their personal memories of John and personal notes to the Suckow family:
The Santa Clara County Health Department is looking for volunteers who can assist with the countywide COVID-19 Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Program for 24 to 32 hours a week for a minimum of three months, ideally for a minimum of six months. Please see the specifics (as known at this time) below. If you are interested, please fill out a City of Saratoga DSW-V Contact Tracing Volunteer Interest Form. After completing the form, the City will share your contact information with Santa Clara County who will respond directly to you with further details.
Santa Clara County COVID-19 Contact Tracing – Purpose and Staffing Needs
Case investigation and contact tracing is designed to identify people who have COVID-19 or who have been exposed to COVID-19. The goal is to interrupt chains of transmission by helping to ensure the safe and effective quarantine of potential contacts, slowing the spread of the virus through our County. This is one containment strategy among many that will allow for far fewer restrictions to be placed on the community. As Shelter-in-Place (SIP) restrictions are rolled back and as the number of contacts each newly infected person increases, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department anticipates it will need capacity to conduct detailed case investigation and contact tracing. The number of people needed to fulfill these roles is substantial. We anticipate that intensive case investigation and contact tracing program will need to remain operational for at least a year. We expect to fulfill these positions with a combination of:
- County and other public agency staff;
- Community volunteers willing to make a similar commitment; and
- Contracted staff to meet needs not fillable by persons in categories (1) and (2).
The Case Investigation and Contact Tracing (CICT) team will include four types of positions, with different requirements and responsibilities:
- CICT staff members who will maintain a caseload, calling contacts assigned to them, offering isolation and quarantine guidance and resources as needed, and inputting information into an online platform. It is anticipated that community volunteers will assist at this level.
- CICT Lead staff members who will perform a lead function for the CICT unit to support scheduling, supervision, and troubleshooting needs;
- CICT Clinicians who will have a medical or clinical background and provide clinical consultation and guidance to the CICT unit; and
- Data Entry staff members who will assist with data reconciliation needs between databases.
Qualifications and Skills Required:
- Be 18 years of age, or older.
- Able to work remotely for at least 24 hours per week (ideally full-time at 40 hours per week) for a minimum of 3 months (ideally for a minimum of 6 months).
- Able to work for a minimum of three months, and ideally six months or longer.
- Possess excellent customer service and interpersonal skills.
- Possess strong written and communication skills, with an attention to detail.
- Possess computer proficiency with ability to enter data into web-based systems.
- Able to work remotely with a reliable internet connection and a desktop or laptop computer.
- Other language capabilities – especially Spanish, Vietnamese, and Chinese – is beneficial but not required.
Dear Earthquake Country Alliance Bay Area Associates and Colleagues,
Earthquake Country Alliance of the Bay Area will be holding its next workshop as a special webinar on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, from 10:00am to 11:30am.
Join us as we address the impact of concurrent disasters: What if an earthquake occurred during a pandemic? The program includes presentations on Emergency Management During COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned for Future Shocks by Mary Ellen Carroll (Executive Director of the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management) and COVID-19 as a Teachable Moment for Inclusive (DAFN) Communities by Roxann Crawford of FEMA. Other topics are listed below.
Please register to participate, and also share this invite with others who might be interested!
DATE: Tuesday, May 19, 2020
TIME: 10:00am – 11:30am. Please join the webinar a few minutes early to ensure you have access.
· Presentation: Emergency Management During COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons Learned for Future Shocks – Mary Ellen Carroll, Executive Director of the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management
· Presentation: COVID-19 as a Teachable Moment for Inclusive (DAFN) Earthquake Preparedness – Roxann Crawford, FEMA
· Presentation: Engaging Your CERT Teams – Chief David Cosgrave, San Mateo County Fire
· Secure Your Space: Be Safer at Home While Safe at Home – Mark Benthien, Southern California Earthquake Center
· Announcement of 2020 ECA Bay Area Mini Awards recipients
· ECA Resources, Updates, Announcements
REGISTRATION: Register here for the webinar.
Workshop updates will be posted here.
If you have any questions, email bayarea@EarthquakeCountry.org.
ECA Bay Area Coordinating Committee Chairs
Bob Beecher, Cisco
Dena Gunning, Central County Fire Department
Daniel Homsey, City and County of San Francisco
Earthquake Country Alliance of the Bay Area
The Health Officer of Santa Clara County has extended the shelter-in-place order through May 31, 2020. For more information on the order, including exceptions for essential activities and FAQs, visit www.sccgov.org/cv19
Status of all upcoming CERT training events in light of Public Health guidance on the COVID-19 Coronavirus
Based upon evolving guidance from international (WHO), national (CDC/NIH), State of California, and local public health agencies, and projected trends for COVID-19 coronavirus spread for the next six to eight weeks, all CERT-related training events have been reviewed for either cancellation or postponement.
The following is an update on the status of all CERT training events that had previously been planned or scheduled for Saratoga CERT participation:
(1) The Santa Clara Countywide CERT Skills Day, previously scheduled for 25 April 2020 at Mission College in Santa Clara, has been indefinitely postponed. There is no guidance at this time on whether this event will occur at a later date in calendar year 2020, or will be cancelled for the year. I will keep all informed on any new information as it is received from the Santa Clara County CERT Leadership Team. Please note that the Eventbrite registration webpage for this event is still accessible, but the event is shown as POSTPONED.
(2) The joint City of Saratoga CERT/City of Campbell CERT Animal Response/Animal Sheltering class, previously scheduled for 02 May 2020 at Saratoga Prospect Center, has been postponed to a new date of Saturday, 15 August 2020. As this new date falls within the high-risk period for wildfires both here in California and throughout the western United States, the City of Sacramento CERT AR/AS training team – who conducts this course – may be either “on call” for field activation or deployed for a “real world” incident. Alternately, it is uncertain what the state of COVID-19 coronavirus will be in August, so another postponement of the class may be warranted. Again, I will keep all informed on the status of the proposed 15 August training date as we get into the late June/early July time frame.
(3) The joint City of Campbell CERT/City of Saratoga CERT American Red Cross Shelter Simulation Exercise, proposed for a possible date in early summer 2020 at the Campbell Community Center, has been indefinitely postponed. Like the Animal Response/Animal Sheltering team, all members of the ARC instructional team who conduct this exercise are “on call” to support “real world” incidents (i.e., ARC disaster response to wildfires in California and the western U.S., and hurricanes in the southeastern U.S.) and may not be available to conduct the training. The rescheduling of this exercise will be reviewed in the early-to-mid summer time frame.
(4) As of now, all Santa Clara County Fire Department CERT Academy sessions and refresher courses are postponed and subject to possible cancellation for the year. We had discussed the possibility of Jeff Walker providing Saratoga CERT with a refresher course on CERT damage assessment. The scheduling of this class will be reviewed in line with evolving COVID-19 public health guidance pertaining to group gatherings. In light of the current conditions, it is unlikely that this course would be scheduled for any time before at least the beginning of August 2020. Also, if SCCFD CERT Academies are restored for CY-2020, then our refresher class will be conducted on a “not to interfere” basis with the dates of any restored CERT Academy sessions.
(5) An American Red Cross Disaster Psychology/Psychological First Aid class, conducted by Kay Ammon of the ARC, was proposed for late spring/early summer 2020. I have corresponded with Kay, and we are now tentatively looking at conducting this three-hour class on either a Tuesday or Wednesday of the first or second week of August 2020. This will be reviewed in the late May/early June time frame, to see if the proposed August dates still are realistic in light of the current public health emergency.
(6) Finally, Michael Grodin of the Campbell CERT organization (and a Santa Clara County Emergency Medical Services EMT) has had two “advertised” Stop the Bleed classes scheduled for a number of months, with the classes falling on 15 April 2020 and 22 July 2020 at the Campbell Community Center. I know that both classes have been filled for a number of weeks, and any new registrants would have been “wait-listed.” I have not heard any word as to whether Michael has postponed or fully cancelled these two classes. If you are registered to attend one of these classes, you may want to contact Michael at “firstname.lastname@example.org” to confirm the status of the class. I also mentioned at our last Saratoga CERT general membership meeting (Thursday, 05 March) that I will work, in the future, to see if Michael can return to Saratoga to conduct a Saratoga CERT-specific STB class in the late fall/early winter time frame. This is obviously predicated on the future status of the continuously evolving COVID-19 public health emergency.
Please e-mail me if you have any questions on the above.
My thanks to all,
Charles RaderCity of Saratoga CERT Volunteer Program Lead