Sunday, September 30, 2007


Many of you are in need of refreshers for this year that couldn’t make our August ones. Since our next CERT full scale exercise will be relatively small (we only have one class this semester), we thought it would be great for you to participate in the CERT final for your refresher. To do this, however, we need a firm commitment for your participation (currently scheduled for December 1st) and we will need you recruit some victims for yourself! So, if you can participate as a rescuer, please let Derek know. You’ll need to bring 2 victims, and of course your $12 made out to the NCAC to cover the cost of food for you and your victims. Naturally, you can also attend as a victim instead and get free food! :)

Fall for Fairfax CERT booth-a recap

Terry, Betty and Kevin

the sign says, "I wish CERT was in my neighborhood!"

Hi Folks!
Today Andrew Levy of CERT 15, Kevin Mullins of CERT 20 and Betty Varholy of CERT 8 and myself manned a CERT booth at the Fairfax county government center in support of the Fall For Fairfax festival. We had REALLY good response from people who stopped by the booth; and handed out a truckload of disaster preparation info to the event participants. We also did live extrication demonstrations;which I believe is a first for live demo support since the start of the CERT program. I don't think we've ever been asked to do demonstrations before and crowd response was phenomenal. People loved being "Andrew-ed"during the first demo; the audience got to see a scene sizeup; lifting and cribbing in action, victim extrication and some of our "fun with duct tape" medical skills. "Bones" was our victim in the other demos; Betty's quick thinking in bringing "bones" along just made the demos that much more exciting! This event generated more interest in CERT (and requests for info and in taking classes) than the Celebrate Fairfax event a few months ago did; there weren't as many displays at this event. So,people took more time at each booth; rather than the "run for the freebies" from the thousand booths at the Celebrate Fairfax event.We got to really sit and talk at length to our fellow citizens about disaster preparedness! We'd made up a 10 page booklet up on preparing for disasters (making a plan and building a disaster kit). I ran off 100 copies; we gave out every single one of them. The interesting thing is that 80% of these people knew that they needed to prepare, but simply didn't know how.....I think we did a huge service to our neighbors today; and CERT is all about doing the greatest good for the greatest number.......
I want to thank each of the volunteers today; ya'll were AWESOME !!!!!!! Andrew pulling his victim antics are always good for drawing attention and a good laugh. Betty is always a pleasure to work with and bringing "bones" today was an absolute stroke of GENIUS !!! Folks, Kevin and Betty are the CERT "dynamic duo" with regards to recruiting; you really should come out and see these folks in action. Kevin gets todays' CERT "superstar recruiter" award though; this man worked the crowds like a polished professional today. He was incredible!
That's the nice thing about CERT; we are "citizen responders" but each of these folks "talk CERT" as professionals do. We should all be very proud of Andrew's, Betty's and Kevin's efforts today.It's one thing to "talk CERT"; during this event these fine folks "lived and breathed" CERT and their enthusiasm and professionalism today was infectious. It was an honor and a pleasure to work with these folks today. GREAT JOB FOLKS!!!!!

volunteer PIO

Friday, September 28, 2007

CERT You Tube Videos

Produced by Petaluma CERT, they provide a nice overview of the importance of the CERT program. It covers the major areas of CERT and is a great tool to pass along to your "web-savvy" friends who would like a visual display of "what is CERT." Here is a link to the first video -->

Preparedness Month - Coming to an End?

Earlier earlier this week, there was a post that mentioned as Preparedness Month comes to an end. I suggested we should look at is as a beginning for the next year. But maybe I spoke too soon.

What would you do if there was no longer a CERT program in the County? What about if the Medical Reserve Corp (MRC) shut down? And what if the Fairfax Citizen Corps Council no longer existed?

I doubt any of us would argue that it is important for these programs continue.

It was brought to our attention that Federal, National Capital Region, and State grant funding will not be available for Citizen Corps Council programs, such as CERT, starting in 2008.

One option would be to have volunteers pay to be trained. Is that even an option? (Not looking for an answer here).

Funding has been requested through OEM for Citizen Corps Council programs. However, with tight budgets, there is a strong chance this will not get approved.

Should the Fire Deparment be funding CERT? As VIPs and Neighborhood Watch are funded by the Police Department.

These are some of the questions raised at the Citizen Corps Council meeting last night. Several members of the Citizen Corps Council will be contacting the Board of Supervisors to have them help us ensure the programs continue. You might consider doing the same.

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Oct.6th Alexandria CERT exercise-UPDATED INFORMATION

I just got the updated information for the Oct.6th Alexandria CERT exercise. They were requesting volunteer victims; if interested email the address below.
volunteer PIO


Alexandria Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) 203, 205, and 207, in conjunction with the Alexandria Office of Emergency Management, request your participation as victims for a mass casualty exercise.

WHAT: The 615 Exercise is Alexandria CERT's first annual full scale exercise. It will be a chance to victim in a simulated mass casualty environment and an opportunity to meet and work with local CERT members.

WHO: 21 years of age minimum, unless otherwise approved; CERT graduates of any jurisdiction, Red Cross volunteers, AVB members, anyone with a public safety background.

WHEN: October 6, 2007. Report between 8:45 and 9:00 a.m. Please be prompt, as the schedule is very tight. The exercise should close between 12:30 and 1:00.

WHERE: John Adams School at 5651 Rayburn Avenue off Beauregard Street, Alexandria. Report to the soccer field behind the school. Look for directional signs beginning at Beauregard.

WEAR: Clothes that you expect to get dirty, torn, cut, burned, and/or blood-soaked. Please dress appropriately for the weather and feel free to bring a blanket if you do not wish to be on the ground.

RSVP: Please respond as soon as possible to the following address: Please provide your full name, telephone, and a list of any similar exercises you may have participated in previously. More details to follow.

We still need a hand at Fall for Fairfax!

Hi folks; and WELCOME ABOARD to the new CERT 29 class!
I wanted to let all of you know that we could still use a hand at the Fall for Fairfax event. It's being held this Saturday at the Fairfax county government center from 10 am to 4 pm. We're still in need of a few more more CERT's; at this event we'll be manning our CERT display and talking to the crowds about our program.
In addition; we'll be doing live extrication and lifting/cribbing demos for the crowds at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Remember doing scene "sizeups" and working in teams, then lifting and cribbing victims out from under pallets? That's what we'll be doing; except with an audience ! We'll be doing a head to toe assessment as well as our "fun with duct tape" medical skills. It's impressive to watch during an evolution; think what the public will think !

Here's who I currently have down for helping so far:

Kevin Mullins of CERT 20
Betty Varholy of CERT 8
Andrew Levy of CERT 15 (for a little while)
and me.
Kevin, Betty and Andrew are veterans of previous community outreach events; if you all could; share your experiences from previous events on the blog. Others I'm sure would love to hear of your exploits!
BIG THANKS TO THOSE HELPING OUT !!!! If you'd like to come out and help us; please let me know. My email address is

volunteer PIO

Welcome CERT Class 29!

This evening starts Fairfax County's newest CERT class -- CERT 29! Tonight they will be convering disaster awareness as well as receiving their gear and getting the general overview of Fairfax's CERT program. Welcome aboard!

CERT 29 Class Schedule:
9/27/2007 7:00p - 10:30p Introduction and Disaster Awareness

9/28/2007 7:00p – 10:30p Disaster Management

10/3/2007 7:00p - 10:30p Triage

10/172007 7:00p - 10:30p Medical Operations

10/24/2007 7:00p – 10:30p Hazard Awareness

11/7/2007 7:00p – 10:30p Lifting and Cribbing

11/28/2007 7:00p – 10:30p Disaster Scenarios

12/1/2007 8:00p - 3:30p – Final Exercise

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Special Needs Registry Launched - Includes Pets, Limited English and Disability

National Preparedness Month – Fairfax County Launches Special Needs Registry

Fairfax County has launched the special needs registry for residents of Fairfax County. The medical needs registry will register individual with medical needs and the social needs registry will register organizations that serve people with social needs. Fairfax County defines a person with a medical need as one who has a high-risk health condition that is either temporary or chronic who cannot manage for themselves in a shelter or evacuation center and will require assistance in performing the activities of daily living and/or will require care for and the monitoring of a health condition. People with social needs are considered to be vulnerable, at-risk or hard to reach in the event of an emergency, but are not medically dependent. This group may need specialized communications and/or transportation but do not require additional support. For example the social needs population is comprised of people who are: older adults or young children; economically disadvantaged; reliant on public transportation; isolated by culture or religion; affected by the digital divide; incarcerated; and living in or attending licensed facilities. This group also includes people who have: household pets or service animals; limited English proficiency; and disabilities. For more information, contact Ellen Kamilakis, OEM or visit the Fairfax County Special Needs Registry Web page.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fire Prevention Week is Coming ...the Week of October 7-13, 2007

"Practice Your Escape Plan!" is the theme of Fire Prevention Week 2007. It's not enough to have a home fire escape plan. To escape safely, you've got to make sure that everyone in the home has practiced the plan.

As part of the week, everyone is welcome to participate in the Great American Fire Drill. For more information and material, please visit For a kid-friendly site, you can go to to report that you and your family participated.

It's a great way to set the foundation of a culture of preparedness!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Spend an evening with the US army.......

Hi folks!
Yep, I caught your attention on that one, huh....Well, Fairfax County CERT members have been extended that invitation yet again.
I spoke today with Lt. J.B. Branson; who is an engineer and platoon leader for the US army's 911th engineer battalion at Fort Belvoir. We had met this man at the Red Cross Save a Life event a few weeks ago. He had heard of the CERT volunteer victims' "performance" at the recent force protection exercise and asked if we'd be interested in playing victim at one of his exercises. The 911th engineer battalion is a "technical rescue" unit, similar in composition to Virginia Task force 1 our own Steve Wiley is with; but it's tasked specifically to search and rescue operations in federal buildings and the like.
Lt. Branson asked me to see if any CERT's would be interested in playing victim for their exercise at Fort Belvoir on Monday, October 1st from 7pm to around 10:30 pm. Their exercise is going to run for 24 hours straight; but we would only be needed for the first 3 hours or so. They would need us as frightened bystanders and victims of the event; he mentioned they needed head injuries and injuries of that nature. They will moulage us and I got to see their moulage kits at the recent force protection exercise. Our CERT moulage kits look like fishing tackle boxes; theirs look like steamer trunks be comparison. The army takes moulage very very seriously..... The kind Lieutenant did say we could "hang out" and observe the rest of the exercise as long as we wanted. We'll be bussed out to the old Lorton prison site and then bussed back to the post from what I understand.
This call for victims should prove to be extremely interesting. The premise of the exercise is something I was asked(told) not to mention; due to some army operational security requirements. I can guarantee it's not our normal CERT disaster scenarios by any stretch of the imagination. I CAN say it's a scenario geared to the local area though. I can also say there will be armored vehicles there. That's about all I can say.
If your'e interested in participating in this rather unusual disaster scenario please feel free to email me at . I KNOW I want to be a victim for this one, it is going to be exciting.

volunteer PIO

Tell Your Friends, Family and Coworkers: JOIN CERT!

CERT volunteers are trained to respond to emergency situations in their communities and workplaces. They provide critical support to first responders, provide immediate assistance to victims, and organize spontaneous volunteers at a disaster site. CERT members deliver basic emergency medical treatment, disaster fire suppression, and light search and rescue services to their community until first responders arrive. CERT members also are trained in disaster preparedness and perform non-emergency projects to improve the safety of their communities. A 28-hour training course at the Fire and Rescue Academy is required.

If you have friends, family or coworkers who may be interested in joining in and getting involved, please have them email Dana Powers to sign up!!

Information on Safe Rooms

As National Preparedness Month winds down, I would encourage you to check out the resources on safe rooms over at FEMA. They have information on residental and public safe rooms, case studies, best practices, and more. For more information, please visit

Sunday, September 23, 2007

October 6th Alexandria CERT exercise and Fall for Fairfax

Here's an excerpt of an email from Brian Jacobsen of Alexandria CERT.The exercise is Saturday October 6th from 8am to 1pm. The location has changed for the exercise; it's going to be at another location (it is NOT going to be at Ben Brennan park apparently)and as soon as I get that info I'll be passing it on to you. Several of you have signed up; but they are going to need LOTS more folks.Lots......
Email me at if your'e able to help and I'll pass it on to the Alexandria folks.Here's Brian's email excerpt........

2. We are coming up short on victims. I do have several from FFX so far, but can you beat the drum for me . . . loudly? Anyone from FFX Citizen Corp may participate as well. Please have them provide name, email address, and phone number to

Also, on the Fall for Fairfax event for Saturday,September 29th the CERT volunteers are going to be doing live extrication and leverage/cribbing demonstrations! The office of emergency management wanted us to do something "3 dimensional", and light search and rescue is about as 3 dimensional as it gets.Want to come out and join in showing the community what we do? Let me know.

Volunteer PIO

Alexandria CERT drill October 6th Still Needs Volunteers

BIG Thanks to the 15 or so Fairfax County CERT trained members who have signed up. They need more volunteers. As you know, a big part of our program has always been our live actors. Please consider helping out so the fine CERT folks of Alexandria can have the same positive learning experience as you had in the past!

Their CERT exercise is on October 6th from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ben Brenman Park. Remember, this is our chance to show off our acting, screaming, and adding stress and chaos skills. We are a gifted bunch when it comes to mayhem! :)

If you can help out, please email Terry at with your name, email and phone number. Thanks!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Volunteer Mobilization Leadership Team

Okay, so the fire department finally arrived at the scene and things are back under control in your community. However, now there is still a need for trained volunteers. Just think of all the people that will show up off the streets to help. There is a need to have people help process, coordinate and train these spontaneous volunteers.

Volunteer Fairfax manages the Fairfax County's Volunteer Mobilization Leadership Team. Training is coming up next week:

VMLT Training

The VMLT Training, which covers the Volunteer Mobilization Center and roles and responsiblities information, will be held on September 29, 2007 from 10:00AM-3:00PM. The Training is mandatory for all members who have never attended Training. Lunch and materials will be included. Please RSVP to Emily Yahr at

For those that are interested, but still unsure or unable to attend, please feel free to contact Emily.

Secretary Michael Chertoff Addresses Preparedness

In his latest Leadership Journal entry, Secretary Chertoff discusses the importance of developing a culture of preparedness ... something that we in CERT have fully embraced and work hard to bring to our friends, family and Fairfax County.

To read his entry, please visit

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cities Readiness Initiative Training & Exercise Program

Support emergency preparedness efforts of the Centers for Disease Control and your community!

When: October 27, 2007 - 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Where: George Mason University Patriot Center
4500 Patriot Circle, Fairfax VA 22030

Who: Volunteers interested in participating in an emergency preparedness exercise. Participation is limited to the first 500 ACTORS to sign-up!

Benefits of Participation: It's free, have lunch on us! Be better prepared for health emergencies, get a free t-shirt, and feel good about helping your community.

For registration or questions: Call 703-246-8641 or visit or e-mail
with your name, phone number, and e-mail address.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Virginia Public Safety Outreach Conference

There will be a Virginia Public Safety Outreach Conference in Newport News, VA on November 14, 2007. The conference fee is $20. Registration form and payment must be received by Nov. 2, 2007.

To register or to find out more information, please visit

Some topics include:
When It's Raining ON Cats and Dogs; Description: Come learn about how people can plan and gather supplies to ensure the safety of their pets during an emergency and get an update on what the Commonwealth of Virginia is doing to prepare for pets' needs.
Speakers: Peggy Allen, Chair, State Animal Response Team; Dr. Donald W. Butts, Emergency Services Manager, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Why Business Preparedness Makes Cents; Description: Many businesses that suffer a disaster aren't prepared and don't survive. Come see how you can use the Virginia Business Emergency Survival Toolkit to help business owners in your area get ready for an emergency.
Speakers: Heather Blanchard, Business Liaison Director, Office of Policy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Karen Cole, CEO, Assura Consulting; Clyde Hoey, President, The Resource Group

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

CERT Blog for Other Languages

In December 2003, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) launched Listo, a national public service advertising campaign to educate and empower Hispanic Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks. DHS also has created extensions of the Listo campaign, as well as materials for specific segments of the Hispanic population. Listo Negocios helps owners and managers of small to medium-size businesses prepare their employees, operations and assets in the event of an emergency. Listo Niños is a tool to help parents and teachers educate children ages 8-12 about emergencies and how they can help get their family prepared.

People are beginning to take notice of this blog. For example, it has been linked to Washington Post Articles and we know people in Richmond are reading it. We should consider taking this blog to the next level. Do any of you speak Spanish or other languages? If so, let us know. Does it make sense to have Fairfax County CERT be the first to launch a blog, that not only continues what we have here, but also including some postings/messages in other languages? What are your thoughts on this?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Virginia State Fair - Free Tickets (For Your Time/Message)

Help To Get The Word Out About Being Prepared For Emergencies And Disaster!!!

Join in the Festivities….

Citizen Corps Volunteers are needed to staff the
VDEM Booth at the
2007 State Fair of Virginia
Thursday, September 27 through Sunday, October 7

Ø Volunteers that work a 4 hour shift will receive a fair ticket good for the entire day.

Ø Each ticket allows you to take part in all of the basic fair festivities for the day you work only – tickets do not cover food, beverages, rides and concerts/shows.

Ø A family member above the age of 18 can work a shift with you and each of you will receive a fair ticket good for the entire day.

If you would like to sign up for this opportunity to support VDEM, while also enjoying our State Fair, please contact Mary Parker at PLEASE MENTION YOU ARE WITH Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council and CERT. Also, let me know (, as there might be some others from Fairfax County that will be headed down.

If you would like to purchase additional tickets for family members, please visit the Fair Web site – We also welcome your feedback and/or thoughts on how we can make our exhibit a more successful event for fair visitors.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Red Cross Save a Life event- CERT "ROCKS!!" this event..

The save a life event event today was a success. It was not a large event in terms of numbers of people; but the people we spoke to were genuinely interested in our CERT program. Lots of questions were asked; our very capable volunteer staff manning the display cheerfully fielded each question with enthusiasm. The Red Cross managed this event; they brought out their command and control bus, their disaster action team vehicle and a mobile kitchen for display.Fairfax County fire and rescue brought out a fire engine for display; NOAA, Small Business Administration, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Life services, Fairfax County Medical Reserve Corps and CERT set up booths in the school. We got some really good comments on our display; and had a really good display placement. CPR, AED , baby sitter training and first aid for pets training were held in the school lunch room; we were right outside the main entrance.
We fielded questions and distributed information from 8:30am to 4:00 pm and a good time was had by all. Our volunteers for this event deserve special commendation for presenting CERT in a most professional and informative manner. Our CERT team manning the booth were awesome, as usual and special thanks go out to each of them. Our volunteers were:

Jack Ledgerwood (morning shift)
Suzi Ledgerwood (morning shift)
Andrew Levy (mid day shift)
Eydie (afternoon shift)
Jon Curl (who showed up just in time to help us break down the displays)

Couldn't have done it withough you, folks.THANKS FOR YOUR HELP TODAY !!!!

CERT always "rocks" , whether it be in the classroom or out in the burn building. Today Fairfax County CERT "rocked" the community!
Thanks folks!
CERT14 and volunteer PIO

Reminder: Save A Life Saturday is Today!

Save a Life Saturday will be held at George C. Marshall High School, 7731 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Several county, regional and federal agencies are participating in this event hosted by the American Red Cross of the National Capital Area.

Friday, September 14, 2007

DHS introduces New Leadership Journal

This journal, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, provides a forum to talk about their work protecting the American people, building an effective emergency preparedness and response capability, enforcing immigration laws, and promoting economic prosperity.

The introductory post by Secretary Chertoff discusses the legacy of September 11. Comments are welcomed and there is a detailed comment policy on the journal of what will and will not be posted.

The Leadership Journal can be found at

DHS Releases National Preparedness Guidelines

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on September 13, 2007 publication of two important tools to organize and synchronize national efforts to strengthen preparedness: (1) the National Preparedness Guidelines, which establish a vision for national preparedness and provide a systematic approach for prioritizing preparedness efforts across the Nation; and (2) the Target Capabilities List, which describes the collective national capabilities required to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from terrorist attacks, major disasters and other emergencies.

"The National Preparedness Guidelines and Target Capabilities List are the culmination of extensive efforts to define the specific plans and capabilities our nation must possess in order to address catastrophic threats," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. "These documents will help focus policy, planning and investments at all levels of government and the private sector in order to strengthen our collective capabilities and better prepare for major incidents."

To view the entire press release, plus read the guidelines, please visit

Thursday, September 13, 2007

CERT volunteer update

Hi folks!

I just wanted to remind those that signed up to volunteer that the Red Cross Save a Life event is THIS SATURDAY, September 15th. This event is at Thomas Jefferson high school in Falls Church. Here's who I have listed to help volunteer with the CERT display there.

Jack Ledgerwood, Suzi Ledgerwood, Eydie

If anyone would be interested in coming out and "Talking CERT" to an interested crowd, feel free to email me at Many thanks to Jack Suzi and Eydie for your help!

There are other volunteer events coming up too!

On September 22nd Lani Young from CERT 4 is manning the CERT display at the Reston police station open house. THANK YOU LANI!

On September 26th from 10am to 12 noon I'll be manning our CERT display at the "Venture into volunteering" event at Sherwood Hall Library in Alexandria. Senior citizens will have an oppurtunity to learn of various volunteer organizations in the county at this event. This will be a perfect oppurtunity to remind our elders of the need to prepare.

September 29th has our CERT display at the county government center for the "Fall for Fairfax" event. I could use some more volunteers for this event; it's going to be a big event and a super oppurtunity to "talk CERT".

October 6th is Alexandria CERT's final exercise at Ben Brennan Park from 8am to 1pm. They have asked us to be victims for their exercise, if your'e interested email me. Let's help our fellow CERT's ! The following CERT's have volunteered so far for this event:
Kevin Mullins
E.C. Buckminster
Andrew Levy
and me....

October 13th and 14th is the date for the "disaster drill" Boy Scout camporee being held at the Fairfax County fire academy. We need 15 or so CERT's for Saturday; we need 6 to 8 "subject matter experts" (it's a golden oppurtunity to teach what you've learned in CERT to others!) and need the rest of the folks to help with logistics, moulage and control staff. For those who did the Spring camporee, "hop on the blog" and let them know of your experiences...It was a fun and rewarding event.

Charles Monts of CERT 12 is running this event; I'm the one trying to get volunteers up for him. Let me know if you're interested; it will be a memorable event.

October 27th is the date for Fairfax County's Medical Reserve Corps dispensing site drill. This is to be held at George Mason University and MRC is looking for over 500 (!!!) volunteers for this exercise.
This exercise will be used to test plans in place to get needed medicines or vaccinations out to county residents in case of a county wide health emergency. Some of these health emergencies include pandemic flu and bioterror events. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta is sending representatives to view and comment on this exercise as well. This exercise will involve the "quick dispensing" method; IE simulating getting antibiotics out to all 1.1 million Fairfax county residents within a 48 to 72 HOUR timeframe after getting the "go".
If you'd like to come out and volunteer for this event please email me. The Fairfax MRC is one of the most organized MRC units in the US; and this exercise will give you a glimpse into disaster response and mitigation that doesn't involve 2x4's and duct tape...........

These are the events I have so far; again, if you'd like to volunteer and show your CERT "stuff" to others please feel free to email me at .
When I took on this volunteer job as PIO, my goals were to reach out to the community and let them know of the job we do. In addition, to get new CERT team members. All of these volunteer events will show the residents of the county that CERT's "ROCK"!

volunteer PIO

Advice on Safe Room Markings

A question was recently received from a CERT member asking about safe room markings in the workplace. "What is the proper way to mark an office as a "safe room" and it be obvious to a firefighter in a smoky hallway?"

FEMA has produced a 264 page PDF entitled "Design Guidance for Shelters and Safe Rooms: Providing Protection to People and Buildings Against Terrorist Attacks" which addresses this and much more. It is available online at:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Taste Test - Popular Survival Rations

Popular Mechanics August issue published a comparison of some so-called "survival rations among a great collection of articles on preparedness.

"While the Mainstay bar received the highest ratings on average, its strong lemon flavor was polarizing-some staffers loved it, some hated it. The Datrex bar consistently received neutral ratings, even reminding one editor of dried biscotti. The ER Bar, while the favorite of one staffer, received low marks and was described as "soapy."

While visiting Popular Mechanics, be sure to check out the other disaster-related resources in the same issue.

New CPR Method Promises Better Results by Compressing Abdomen

A biomedical engineer at Purdue University has developed a new method to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation that promises to be more effective than standard CPR because it increases nourishing blood flow through the heart by 25 percent over the current method.

Leslie Geddes has developed the first new CPR alternative, called "only rhythmic abdominal compression," or OAC-CPR, which works by pushing on the abdomen instead of the chest.

"There are major problems with standard CPR," Geddes said. "One is the risk of breaking ribs if you push too hard, but if you don't push hard you won't save the person. Another problem is the risk of transferring infection with mouth-to-mouth breathing."

The new CPR method eliminates both risks, Geddes said. To read the full article, please visit

Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs

The following was released today by the Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs. You might recognize some of the text from an earlier posting. I take no credit for the line "They Don't Just Want Your Blood!"

National Preparedness Month - They Don’t Just Want Your Blood! Volunteering in emergency preparedness is more than just donating blood. The Fairfax County Citizen Corps consists of volunteer programs within the Police, Fire and Rescue and Health departments. The Police Department houses the longest serving Neighborhood Watch in the country. It also houses Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) which includes auxiliary police officers, administrative volunteers, chaplains and the Citizens Police Academy. The Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) is a program operated by the Health Department composed of medical and non-medical volunteers trained to assist the community in dispensing medication during public health emergencies. MRC is currently looking for foreign language interpreters. Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) trains people in neighborhoods, workplaces and schools in basic disaster response skills, such as fire suppression and search and rescue, and helps them take a more active role in emergency preparedness. For more information about volunteering, contact Ellen Kamilakis, OEM; for more emergency preparedness information, visit .

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Buddy System

As we look at some of the lessons in National Preparedness Month, we can look back at our CERT training and remember how many times we were told we needed to stay in pairs. We heard people say, but I was just walking to command and I thought that was okay. Or my partner is fine, they are staying where I left them. And after you didn't listen to it the first few times, you became a victim. Then you learned the lesson.

Now lets take that to the real world. If we were to experience a disaster where we needed to use our CERT skills, do you have a CERT partner? Would you go around with a family member? Would you just grab the closest person you see? They would probably be so focused on their own family versus going door to door. I guess I could call Terry, Jack, Cathleen, ... but they are across town and probably have their own neighborhood to deal with. I could drive to an area with power and put an alert on the blog (probably not).

Something I have not given much thought to. Have others thought about this? Who is your CERT buddy?

Draft National Response Framework Released for Public Comment

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the draft National Response Framework (NRF), successor to the National Response Plan, for a 30-day public comment period on September 10, 2007. The Framework, which focuses on response and short-term recovery, articulates the doctrine, principles and architecture by which our nation prepares for and responds to all-hazard disasters across all levels of government and all sectors of communities. The Framework is responsive to repeated federal, state and local requests for a streamlined document that is shorter, less bureaucratic and more user-friendly.

The Framework incorporates a number of key recommendations from more than 700 individuals representing federal, tribal, state and local governments, non-governmental agencies and associations, and the private sector, who participated in a review process that began in September 2006. In addition to the core Framework, supporting documents, including Emergency Support Functions, Support and Incident Annexes and other appendices have also been updated, expanded and remain an integral part of the Framework. These documents are available at the newly-created NRF Resource Center, which is available online at This resource center will be continuously updated as additional supporting materials are created or revised.

The 30-day comment period provides interested parties with the opportunity to provide feedback on the document. A comment form has been circulated to various departments, agencies and key stakeholders. Individuals who wish to submit comments can obtain a comment form and instructions for submission online at

Monday, September 10, 2007

MRC Exercise Requests CERT Participation

The Fairfax County Health Department and the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) are holding a full-scale exercise on Saturday, October 27th at the George Mason University Patriot Center and Oak View Elementary from 8 am to 1 pm.

The exercise is being conducted in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to evaluate the County's mass dispensing plan for antibiotic medications. More than 500 volunteers are needed to assist the Health Department in this exercise.

This exercise will provide an interesting opportunity to learn about the new non-medical dispensing plan, the Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI). Lunch, refreshments, and a t-shirt will be provided for all exercise participants.

Please register for the exercise before October 15th. The exercise is open to both current MRC volunteers and general members of the community. If you know of others interested in joining the MRC or attending the exercise, please refer them to Amy Tarte at or call (703) 246-8641 to request a registration form.

September Declared Emergency Preparedness Month in Fairfax County

This morning, I had the opportunity to speak on behalf of the Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council and member organizations at the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Meeting. CERT was clearly highlighted as one of the key organizations to emergency preparedness in Fairfax County.

As I concluded my words, I made it clear that residents should "Pass it on" to family, neighbors and co-workers so they can be better prepared as well.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

September 9-15: Business preparedness

The theme for the week ahead is preparing your business, workplace environment, employees and coworkers in case of a terrorist or natural disaster. How will your business continue to function in case of a fire or flood of your main offices? What happens if key personnel cannot be reached because the phone lines (cell and land) down?

It doesn't take an event like 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina to damage your business.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Expired Preparedness Kits

Go ahead, look in that closet with your emergency preparedness food/water. When was the last time you changed it. If you happen to notice the bottles of water are from Food Lion, and your local store has been a Bloom for quite some time now... probably time to change it out.

How often do you turn over the items in your kit? And how often SHOULD you be?

For those with pets, you should do the same for their kits. And those with elderly or neighbors that need assistance, you might check on their kits as well.

In the event of a disaster, the entire neighborhood can only depend on those couple of families that stock their entire basement with supplies from Costco/BJs/Sams club (you probably know who those neighbors are). Not to mention, those families might not be so quick to share what they have.

CERT at Save-A-Life Saturday: September 15, 2007 Sign Up to Help!

CERT will be at this event; Eydie from CERT and Terry will be hosting our CERT display there; as well as handing out disaster preparedness information.If you'd like to come out and "Talk CERT" to an interested crowd, feel free to email Terry at
This should be a super event to help promote the concept of disaster preparedness to the public!

September 15, 2007
George C. Marshall High School, 7731 Leesburg Pike Falls Church, VA
To Register, visit

Global Incident Map

Would you like to check out possible terrorist activity visually both here and abroad? If so, visit Using google maps, they report and classify news events by type (aviation, dam incident, etc.) and location (by country). Using their filter / search mechanism, you can select incidents in a specified country for a given date range.

They state that "this free public service website was created to give the public, law enforcement, military, and government individuals a new way to visualize, and become instantly aware of terrorism and security incidents across the world."

Friday, September 7, 2007

National Preparedness Month - DHS Video featuring our own Mike Forgy

Mike Forgy, one of our own CERT Instructors is featured on this 14 minute video released by the Department of Homeland Security. Those attending the August 15 CERT Refresher will recognize the footage.

Mike is highlighed as an employee of the DHS who exemplifies what it means to be prepared and involved. The webcast may be viewed at and will be accessible throughout National Preparedness Month.

Area Disaster Planning Gets More Muscle

Today's Washington Post discusses the different area government's approaches to disaster planning. Fairfax County has a plan but has declined to make it public. To read the full article, visit:

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Hi folks!
I just wanted to let you know that our CERT program is SO good that we're front page news.....Really!
Today the Fort Belvoir post newspaper, the Belvoir Eagle hit the newsstands at Fort Belvoir today. This paper is distributed among all the military bases in the Washington DC area and has an average readership of around 25,000 military personnel per week.
And one of our CERT members' photograph is sitting squarely on the front page. There's a photograph of our CERT 15 graduate Andrew Levy in his finest "I'm a victim, help me!" pose. these photos were taken during the Force protection exercise on post last week. Great big photo too.
He's also shown on page 12, getting hosed down during the gross decon part of the exercise. (Andrew, you looked like a drowned rat, I'm certain this picture is one your wife will frame...... :) I think this pic was taken before he started unloading bags from the ambulance to "help the other victims".
Nice pictures and a nice show of the rampant spirit of volunteerism in the Fairfax County CERT program.
CERT volunteer PIO

some disaster preparedness links for you

Hi folks!
In light of September being Disaster preparedness month; I thought I'd post some relevant disaster links for you.

This is the link to the Virtual Naval Hospital. There are a large number of interesting first aid/medical books available for free download from this site.

A site which has all sorts of information on disaster preparedness gear; reviews of equipment, and lots of "how to's" with regards to surviving various natural and not so natural disasters.

This site is from the US food and drug administration. This site has a wealth of links on food storage preparation and salvage in disaster situations.

This is from the National food safety database; and gives tips on how to prepare for food and water shortages. Some might think this site to be a touch dated (with references to Y2K, etc) but the tips are useful

This site is from the UN/UNHCR and has a wealth of downloadable books on a variety of health and safety issues arising from disasters.

This link has an extensive list of downloadable books on a variety of subjects relating to disaster preparedness. There is a good amount of truly fascinating reading on this site.

Enjoy these links and the learning you can get from them.
CERT volunteer PIO

National Preparedness Month — Explaining the Concept of “Emergency” to a Child

If you wish to include your children in the development of your family emergency plan, the following suggestions can help:

• Explain (in simple terms) why it is important to have a family emergency plan.
• Explain that nothing bad is happening at this moment.
• Involve your children in the planning. For example, they can help to check for batteries, help purchase supplies, etc.

• Reassure children that they will be protected by a friend, relative or someone else who cares about them until parents can arrive.

• Stay calm. Remember that children will be as calm and cooperative as the adults around them.
• Explain that it is okay to feel scared or afraid.
For more information, contact Ellen Kamilakis of the Office of Emergency Management.

Save A Life Saturday

September 15, 2007
George C. Marshall High School, 7731 Leesburg Pike Falls Church, VA

Time: 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with lunch provided
This event centers on the training provided by the American Red Cross of the National Capital Area:

* Adult CPR (English & Spanish): start times: 8:30 a.m. (English & Spanish) & 1:30 p.m. (English only)
* Babysitters Training: for 11to 15 year olds start time: 9 a.m. goes to 4:00pm
* First Aid for Cats & Dogs: start time: 1:30 p.m.
* Family Caregiving: (this program deals with basic elder care) start time: 1:30 p.m.
* Youth programs: for the 5 – 11 year olds start times: 9 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.

One-hour programs starting at 9 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.

* Pandemic Flu
* Community Disaster Education (CDE)

Participating Local, and Federal Agencies and Organizations offering programs:

* NOAA - U.S. Weather Service
* Small Business Administration
* County Police, Fire, and Emergency Operation Management Departments
* The Chesapeake and Potomac Blood Region will be conducting a Blood Drive
* And others

Cost of the program:

Those attending the following; Adult CPR, First Aid for Cats & Dogs, and Family Caregiving classes the cost is $30 for up to two classes.

The Babysitters Training class for 11-15 year olds is $20

All other programs are free.

We request that any person wishing to attend any portion the Save a Life program to please register and mark which program they wish to attend even for the free programs.
Program Schedule:
Check-in starts at 7:30 a.m.
Midway open from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., & the Chapter’s Red Cross Store from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Blood Region: Blood Drive 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

To Register, visit

Family Plan

As part of National Preparedness/Fairfax Prepares Month, if we ask ourselves some questions, it will help us think about things we might have overlooked and help with the thought process.

Here are some things to think about.

How many of you have developed plans for your family? There are probably a good amount of CERT folks that have.

So here is a question... does that plan include when your children are not with you (for example after a school bus picks them up or if they are on a sleepover at a friends house across the county)? Does that plan include your pets? Does that plan include family members that might be out of town on travel? Do others know about your plan?

Does your plan clearly specify where you will be? After all, we might be needed in other areas of the county. Does that plan make sure your family is cared for during that time?

What are some other questions and things we should be thinking about that we may have overlooked?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

New Emergency Preparedness Initiative Announced

Bob Spieldenner, VDEM (804) 897-6510


New Emergency Preparedness Initiative Announced
'Ready Virginia,' Local Events Mark National Preparedness Month

Richmond, Va. - Virginia is marking National Preparedness Month in September with the launch of Ready Virginia, a coordinated effort to provide vital preparedness information to the people of the Commonwealth.

This new, collaborative effort will unite state government agencies with private sector and local government partners in a statewide public education effort to prepare Virginians for all hazards, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks. Ready Virginia encourages citizens to prepare for emergencies by taking three easy steps: get an emergency supply kit, make an emergency plan and stay informed about the hazards that could impact Virginia.

A new Web site,, features specific steps families and businesses can take to prepare themselves for disasters and emergencies. The Ready Virginia Web site is a central, authoritative resource for preparedness information for all Virginians, including a list of materials for a kit, steps to making a plan, and sources of information to stay informed.

"Ready Virginia is an important step in developing a culture of preparedness to ensure the safety and security of Virginians," said Michael M. Cline, state coordinator for VDEM. "The Web site shows simple, low-cost steps people can take in order to be better prepared for emergencies."

Ready Virginia aims to use a variety of messages to inform citizens on the basic steps needed to better prepare their homes, families, and businesses.

Part of the effort will seek to educate people about preparedness through the use of public service announcements (PSAs), which are now available for download from the Ready Virginia Web site in the Press Room area. Each PSA addresses an aspect of family preparedness, such as deciding on a meeting place or collecting emergency supplies. The PSAs are available in video, audio and script formats.

Ready Virginia is being launched in coordination with National Preparedness Month. During the month of September, 625 national and regional organizations will distribute emergency preparedness information, host events and sponsor activities in all 50 states and six territories. Local groups in Virginia will join the nation in promoting emergency preparedness through various events.

A list of National Preparedness Month events in Virginia and across the nation is available on the national Citizen Corps Web site,

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council on National Preparedness Month

The purpose of the Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council is to harness the power of every individual through education, training and volunteer service to make communities safe, stronger and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues and disasters of all kinds. We build on community strengths and develop action plans to involve the whole community, including local businesses.

Working directly with the Fairfax County Office of Emergency Management (OEM), Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, Police, and Health departments, the Council brings together first responders and other community organizations crucial to emergency preparedness and the development of volunteer opportunities and training to meet community needs. In addition, the Council serves as an official Fairfax County advisory body to promote federal and state volunteer initiatives, enhance services, facilitate the exchange of information and training, and support partnerships.

A sample of the core Citizen Corps Council volunteer programs include:

  • Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) provides support for the police department by incorporating civilian volunteers so that law enforcement professionals have more time for frontline duty.

  • Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) coordinates volunteer health professionals, as well as citizens with an interest in health issues, to assist with mass dispensing sites for vaccination or medication distribution.

  • Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) trains people in neighborhoods, workplaces, and schools in basic disaster response skills, such as fire suppression and search and rescue, and helps them take a more active role in emergency preparedness.

  • Fire Corps volunteers are trained to perform non-operational administrative duties at the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department Headquarters and at volunteer fire stations.

  • Neighborhood Watch brings private citizens and law enforcement together to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. It brings to life the simple concept of neighbors watching out for neighbors. Volunteers may join an existing group or establish one in their neighborhood.

  • Affiliate organizations including the American Red Cross, Volunteer Fairfax and other first responder humanitarian agencies, provide corporate training programs which include CPR/AED, Volunteer Management and others.

Representatives from the Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council and individual programs are available to homeowners associations, businesses and other local organizations. Many of these programs can also conduct corporate training programs.
Not only is September National Preparedness Month, but it has also been proclaimed "Fairfax Prepares" Month by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. As a member of the Fairfax County community, we recommend all of you prepare in the event of an emergency. The following website provides some simple tips in getting started:

For additional information, including volunteer opportunities, please visit or contact Andrew Levy, Fairfax County Citizen Corps Council Chair at

Alexandria CERT drill October 6th from 8 a.m. to 1p.m.

Alexandria CERT will be having a CERT exercise on October 6th from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ben Brenman Park. Alexandria CERT members are in need of other CERT members to assist us with this exercise by being victims.

If you can help out, please email Terry at Thanks!

First Week of National Preparedness Month - September 1-8; Back-to-School (Ready Kids)

As children head back to school and settle into a new routine, we want to remind families to take time to create or update their Family Emergency Plan. Check out more information and other events across our country and Ready.Gov.