Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Some links of interest

Hi folks!
It's a slow day at work (for a change) , and I have been poking around on the computer this morning, looking at disaster preparedness sites. Here are a few links I wanted to share with you; you might find them interesting and useful.
This is FEMA's online library; and it has a number of materials relating to disaster preparedness available for download.
As the name suggests, this site relates to medicine in austere, disaster related environments. Lots of manuals available for download (primarily military medicine manuals) and there are many "how to" videos of medical activities as well (like treating burns, treating shock, etc.)
This site is from the Reuters news organization; and covers humanitarian disasters occuring all over the world. There is a great deal of background information on current disasters available. The map section of this site is particularly good.

your volunteer PIO

Sunday, February 24, 2008

CERT at the PreAct conference!

Saturday from 10am to 1pm we had the CERT display (sort of) at the PreAct event. This was held at the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Springfield; and the event was coordinated by Lutheran disaster response services.

I say "sort of", because some complete idiot (me) brought the CERT display.....but forgot the pictures to go ON the display. CERT IS about making do with the materials at hand, right? What we ended up doing was a CERT gear table display; along with the handouts and signup sheet (which I did bring). This worked, and actually worked very well. Space for a display was tight at best. Kevin Mullins from CERT 20 was again my counterpart on the display; thanks for your help Kevin!!!

There were probably 100 people at this event, from various churches around Fairfax County. The people attending were "congregation preparedness managers" at their respective churches; so we had a good crowd. LOTS of interest in the CERT program; the emcee for the event was a graduate of CERT 27, Nelson Latona. Thomas Lambiase of CERT (21I think) helped set up this event, and Lewis Saylor (CERT 12?) was one of the speakers on pandemic influenza.

It was a super community outreach event for CERT!

your volunteer PIO

Friday, February 22, 2008

A fellow CERT needs some HOA preparedness advice

Hi folks!
Steve Richardson is a fellow CERT from the CERT 14 class. He is looking for advice on preparedness items for his community Home owners' association. Please feel free to post your preparedness thoughts and ideas on the blog; or, you can contact Steve directly at RiStph [at] (replace the [at] with @).
your volunteer PIO

Situation. My Homeowners Association (Daventry HOA) has asked me to come up with a plan to survey and prepare the residents of Daventry & Ramblewood for CERT-type situations. I am a member of the Daventry Safety Cmte. and a Neighborhood Watch Block Capt.

I have had articles published on our Daventry web site and written CERT articles for the HOA newsletter.

I have prepared a resident survey if anyone wants to see it.

If the HOA Board decides that we (Daventry/Ramblewood communties) need to have some "minimal, essential" equipment on-hand and available, I'm looking for ideas from the other CERTs members, especially those CERT teams from other "HOA communities" as to what they might recommend as a starter kit for an 1000 household mixed community of single family and townhouses, two miles from the Springfield Mixing Bowl.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Virginia Burn Restrictions

Not that we do a ton of burning in Fairfax County but I wanted to let you all know that the Virginia 4 p.m. burning law went into effect yesterday (February 15, 2008).

This law prohibits burning before 4 p.m. each day (Feb. 15 – April 30) if the fire is in, or within 300 feet of, woodland, brushland or fields containing dry grass or other flammable materials.

A violation of this law is a Class 3 misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine. In addition to the criminal violation, those who allow a fire to escape are liable for the cost of suppressing the fire as well as any damage caused to others’ property.

Read the FAQs

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

CERT Search and Rescue Online Training

Our own Steve Willey helped with this training. This tutorial allows CERT-trained individuals to review and refresh their skills in sizeup and search and rescue techniques. Teams can use the tutorial as a group refresher activity. Those who are not yet CERT members can also use the tutorial for background on the CERT basic training.

I haven't gone all the way through it but here are my immediate impressions:

1.) I had some usability issues on how the tutorial was designed.

2.) I found our approach to victim care is slightly different. While the sizeup and hazard identification is excellent, the victim care in this tutorial is more from our "secondary" search perspective ... you are entering to extricate the victim. For our primary search, we focus on immediate life-saving care and finding victims (taking the worst hurt and easiest to get out with us when we return to command / medical of course!) - not so much on clearing paths and untrapping victims.

If you take the tutorial, I would be interested in hearing your impressions on it. Please return and add a comment to this post. Thanks!

At the end of this tutorial, you will have applied your CERT training to:

  • identify size up requirements for potential search and rescue situations
  • understand the most common techniques for searching a building
  • use safe techniques for debris removal and victim extrication

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

If you get hit by a bus tomorrow...

Accidents can happen in a split second no matter how careful you are. This article from has great ideas on what you need to do to prepare your health and medical information. Highlights include:
* Make emergency contacts and information on your medical wishes easy to find
* Make emergency information cards and keep in wallet, glove box and cell phone
* Identify a specific person to make medical decisions for you if you're incapacitated
* Don't forget about HIPPA privacy issues

To read the full article, please visit Thanks Michael for passing this along!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Flood Insurance Anyone?

Flooding happens everyday in all regions of the country. Consumers must prepare for flooding no matter where they live. Although many floods are caused by huge storms like hurricanes or nor'easters, more floods occur every day and can result from small, localized events, such as a typical afternoon thunderstorm. No matter where you live, it is important to remember that just a few inches of water in a home can cause thousands of dollars of damage.

Find out your risk at

Friday, February 8, 2008

Financial Advice in Case of Disaster

Happy Friday -- I liked this article because it shows how a few CPA's changed their how they provide advice after their experiences in the California Wildfires. Nice food for thought. When Disaster Is at Your Doorstep discusses ways to have your financial life in order before and after a disaster.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Another CERT community outreach event for you!

Hi folks!
We have been given another oppurtunity to "talk CERT" at yet another community outreach event. This event is called PreAct; it's a conference designed to get church goers to "prepare to act" before an emergency by taking steps to get a kit, make a disaster plan and the like.. It's for faith based organizations;church congregation members,etc.
The PreAct event is being help on Sautrday, February 23,2008 at the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. Prince of Peace is located at 8304 Old Keene Mill Road in Springfield,VA. The event runs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and we'll have the CERT display there. Would you like to come out and "talk CERT" to people keenly interested in personal and community preparedness? If you would like to help, feel free to email me at

your volunteer PIO

Sunday, February 3, 2008

CERT at Mount Vernon Town hall meeting!

Hi folks!
Yesterday Kevin of CERT 20 and I manned an information booth at the Mount Vernon district's annual town hall meeting. This event was conducted at Mount Vernon HS in Alexandria. Fairfax county executive Gerald Connolly was there, Mount Vernon district supervisor Hyland was there too. In addition,here were almost 100 different informational booths .

This was a great event; many people came by to get information on CERT. The announcement of CERT training in the south side of Fairfax County was well received by all. Lots of potential new CERT students signed up for more info on the program (which starts March 17 for the south side CERT training).

I'd like to toss out a BIG CERT ""YOU ROCK!!!!"" to Kevin Mullins of CERT 20; who has helped "talk CERT" at 6 different community outreach events now. Talk about dedication!

Do you have an event where you would like someone to "talk CERT" to your community organization? Would you like a CERT booth at your next community event? Feel free to let me know, email me at and we'll be there. "Have display, will travel!"

your volunteer PIO

Friday, February 1, 2008

Fiscal Year 2008 Preparedness Grants

In Fiscal Year 2008, the Department of Homeland Security will award more than $3 billion in grants to states, urban areas, and transportation authorities under 14 programs to bolster national preparedness capabilities and protect critical infrastructure.

Under the Homeland Security Grant Program, the Citizen Corps Program will award $14.5 million to states and territories to engage citizens in community preparedness. Homeland Security Grant Program applications are due May 1, 2008.