Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Did someone say ice cream?

Just a reminder that TODAY (Wed. April 30) from 5-10pm is "31 Cent Scoop Night at Baskin-Robbins® and help us honor America’s firefighters. Participating stores will reduce prices of small ice cream scoops to 31 cents.* At some locations, you may also have an opportunity to make a donation to your local fire charities.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation remembers America’s fallen heroes and assists their families. The organization provides firefighters with training to prevent deaths in the line of duty and offers the public information to prevent fires in our communities.

A donation of $100,000 will be made by Baskin-Robbins® to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. At select local stores throughout the country, you may also have a chance to donate to your local fire station. Baskin-Robbins is proud to support this worthy cause. We encourage you to learn more about the foundation by visiting "

For additional information and locations, visit

Sunday, April 27, 2008

CERT at the LDS emergency preparedness fair

Hi folks!
Yesterday we conducted a great community outreach event at the LDS church on Ox Road in Fairfax. Our CERTs Jack L. and Kevin Mullins came out to help present the message of personal and family emergency preparedness to the event participants.
We talked to a LOT of people about CERT and preparedness; and the congregation as a whole is very preparedness minded. We had our CERT display there; the church had numerous displays on all aspects of preparedness, like storing food and purifying water. There were some impressive displays here; and a lot of people signed up for more info on our CERT program.
MANY THANKS to Jack and Kevin for their help yesterday. You both ROCK! These events help educate our neighbors on preparing for emergencies,They are a wonderful way to show CERT to the community as well.
your volunteer PIO

Friday, April 25, 2008

You never know what you might find....

To follow up on last night's CERT class, this story from todays Union Leader newspaper up in New Hampshire highlights the fact you never know what you may find in someone's house:

PELHAM -- A Pelham man who decided to take a 60-year-old artillery shell to the fire station yesterday afternoon got a shock when the bomb squad was summoned and downtown shut down.
"I didn't want to throw it in the Dumpster," Curt St. Onge, 39, said in a telephone interview last night. "I wanted to take care of it properly."
But when firefighters saw the 22-inch-long vintage Navy artillery shell riding shotgun in St. Onge's work van at 4:35 p.m., they alerted police and evacuated the fire station.
"The pin's still in it, so one would assume it's live, but it's nothing to play with," Fire Chief Michael Walker said.
Firefighters removed engines and ambulances from the station's garage while police cleared traffic in front of the station on Old Bridge Street. Old Bridge Street North was shut down in front of the station and traffic diverted around the town common.
After an hour, the New Hampshire State Police Bomb Squad arrived and quickly determined that the round would be safe for transport and decommissioning. The street was reopened at 6:40 p.m.
"These guys knew once they looked at it what they were dealing with," Pelham Police Chief Joseph Roark said of the World War II-era shell, which is 6 inches in diameter.
St. Onge said he bought the shell more than 20 years ago at a military antique show. It had sat quietly in his garage for years. He decided yesterday it was time to get rid of the artifact.
"I wasn't expecting this," he said of the emergency response. "I'm kind of surprised."
Roark said St. Onge wouldn't face any repercussions from the incident because it was apparent that his actions were well-intended.
"He thought the right thing to do was to take it to a fire department to dispose of it, but it clearly was not safe for him to transport it himself," Roark said.
Roark further advised residents looking to get rid of old ammunition or "explosive-type souvenirs" kept as family heirlooms to call police.
"Please do not transport the items," he said in a written statement issued last night.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Special Training Opportunity-May 1

On Thursday, May 1st there will be an off schedule training opportunity to all students in the current CERT course and those who may want to return to the Fire Academy and sharpen their skills. The training, which will start at 6:30pm rather than the traditional 7:00pm will include a brief review of fire extinguishers and a look at kitchen fires before moving on to a drill where all the skills you have learned so far will be utilized. If you cannot arrive until 7:00pm, that is ok, we would like to have you there for some of the training rather than none of it.

It is not expected this class will go past 9:00pm. Those of you who would like to partake in a post-class libation will have your first drink purchased for you. I look forward to seeing many of you there.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

U.S. Fire Administration Releases Report on I-35W Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis

I found this report to be a very interesting read. The following is from an email that I received from the US Fire Administration.

EMMITSBURG, MD – The United States Fire Administration (USFA) announces the release of the Interstate 35W (I-35W) Bridge Collapse and Response Technical Report (PDF, 1.9 Mb). The report examines the area’s emergency preparedness for, and response to, the August 1, 2007 bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Minnesota that killed 13 people and injured 121 others.

To the nation’s firefighters, collapse of structure is something for which they all plan and prepare. The uniqueness of this bridge collapse, and the challenges faced by firefighters and their command staffs, offers an opportunity for firefighters across this nation to learn from the Minnesota response to this event. As a result, firefighters continue their efforts to prepare for any and all emergencies nationwide,” said United States Fire Administrator Greg Cade.

Just after 6 p.m. on the evening of August 1, 2007, the 40-year old bridge collapsed into the river and its banks without warning. At the time, there were approximately 120 vehicles carrying 160 people on the bridge. The impact of the fall broke the span into multiple planes of broken steel and crushed concrete. Cars, buses, and trucks – all resting precariously along guardrails or suddenly unprotected edges – crashed into other vehicles, partially embedded in the muddy river bank, or dropped precipitously into the river.

The local response to the bridge disaster — and the coordination with metro, State, and Federal partners — demonstrated the extraordinary value of comprehensive disaster planning and training. The city’s ability to respond had evolved over several years of investing heavily and widely in all the elements that make a crucial difference when disaster strikes. Their investment covered widespread training on the National Incident Management System (NIMS) that extended beyond city department heads and into all employee levels. Over half of the city’s 4,000 employees have received NIMS training.

» Download Interstate 35W (I-35W) Bridge Collapse and Response Technical Report (PDF, 1.9 Mb)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Saturday LDS emergency preparedness fair-and a handy CERT gear find!

Hi folks!
I just wanted to remind each of you that we will be at a community outreach event this Saturday,APRIL 26th,2008 from 8am to 1pm. This is an Emergency Preparedness Fair to be held at the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Their address is 4911 Ox Road in Fairfax. I have Jack and Kevin helping for this event; THANKS to both of you! Would you like to help at this or other events we have listed? Look at the list on the blog and drop me an email at .
Yesterday I went over to Ranger Surplus, a military surplus store over in the Tysons' Corner area. I found an equipment item that might be of interest to you.
Do you remember your CERT medical classes? Specifically the class about lifting and carrying wounded victims? Well,some of the items suggested to help move a victim could be whatever was at hand. Or, if you had it; a stretcher, a blanket or perhaps a body bag. Some of us carry folding nylon stretchers in our CERT gear, but they are sometimes hard to find cheaply.
Well, I found out that Ranger Surplus currently has a supply of Dutch military body bags in stock. They're grey (not the usual green or black) and have handholds on each end.They're made of heavy rubberized cloth and they fold up into a nice, tight roll to put into your CERT pack. The nice thing is that they cost $ 6.99 each. It's a pretty good deal and a nice thing to have when you need to move lots of victims. I found these at the Tysons Corner store, they are located at 8393 Leesburg Pike Vienna, VA 22180 Their phone number is 703-917-0711. Their website is .I thought you all might be interested in this.

your volunteer PIO

Friday, April 18, 2008

Alexandria City CERT drill needs victims.

Alexandria CERT has an exercise next Saturday, April 26th. Details on the exercise and contact information are below. If you are interested in being a victim, please RSVP them at by April 18.

PLEASE NOTE- We still need volunteers for the LDS emergency preparedness fair on Ox Road in Fairfax; this event is also scheduled for Sautrday April 26th. If you wish to help for this outreach event please email me at
your volunteer PIO

We are having a CERT exercise on April 26th and are in need
of victims. Can you please send out to your CERT members?
If any of your CERT members would like to participate
please have them rsvp to the email in the below invitation.
Thank you!
Kim Purcell
Alexandria CERT Coordinator

Announcing the Second Annual
City of Alexandria
615 Exercise!
We had fun last year, learned a lot,
and are looking forward to seeing all of you again,
as well as meeting the new participants.
And guaranteed, there will be a few surprises!

You are asked to be victims in a CERT mass casualty exercise.
Please dress appropriately in clothes you expect may get dirty, torn,
blood soaked (fake blood), or burned (not with you in them).

You also are welcome to bring an old blanket
or cardboard to separate you from the ground.

When: April 26, 2008
Report at: 9:00 am
Where: John Adams Elementary School
5651 Rayburn Avenue, off Beauregard, in west Alexandria.

This invitation is for victim participants only.
There are no Observer positions.
Thanks and we look forward to seeing you!
Please RSVP: by April 18.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

2008 National Volunteer Week

As our readership is a fine cadre of volunteers, I thought I would pass along that 2008 National Volunteer Week is fast approaching. It runs from April 27 – May 3, 2008.

Congratulations for all you do -- in CERT and in other ways -- to help our friends, family and community. You have dedicated time and energy becoming trained and prepared to help in case of disaster. Thank you for your efforts and keep up the great work!!

For more information, please visit

Monday, April 14, 2008

And now for something completely different.........

Hi folks!
I got this in my email this morning. This is from the Skills that Serve institute, a new non profit organization dedicated to teaching emergency preparedness and disaster response skills.This class is open to all CERT members,any relevant costs are discussed below. It looks to be an interesting class; offering a chance to learn skills you might not get to learn every day.They also have openings available for an April 26th class to be held in Winchester; this class focuses on health, medical and hygeine for disasters.
The registration form for the May class is attached below; should you have any questions please contact the registrar for the classes,Pete Rockx (Registrar) at directly.

your volunteer PIO

Training Announcement and Class Registration

Classes in Basic Equipment Operation

May 24, 2008

Chambersburg, PA

Skills That Serve is a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching skills, particularly emergency preparedness and disaster response skills, which enable you to serve your community. These vocational, safety, and life skills classes will be of particular benefit to disaster response organizations, organizations sponsoring mission trips, people preparing for mission trips or who serve in disaster response or recovery efforts, and those simply wanting to be better prepared for deal with emergencies.
In 2008,
Skills That Serve will offer a series of six one-day tuition free training programs each centered on a particular theme of disaster preparedness, emergency response, and/or community service.
This announcement for the May 24, 2008, training program pertains to classes on Basic Tractor Operation.
Location: All classes will take place at Forrester Farm Equipment facility located at 1475 Orchard Road, Chambersburg, PA 17202. Forresters’ is off Exit 20 of Interstate 81 just north of Chambersburg, PA.

Transportation: We are considering offering a chartered bus service from the Washington DC area. Please indicate on the registration form if you may be interested in riding the bus. The cost will be determined by the number of riders.
Dress: Forresters’ is a farm equipment sales and service facility. Training will be conducted primarily outdoors on their property. Students should dress appropriately. Long pants and shoes or boots are required. No loose fitting clothing or jewelry should be worn.

Amenities: Regular amenities are available on site. For lunch, we will transport students to a local restaurant to order off the menu. Approximate cost with tip will be $15.00 per person.

The Program: This is an exciting opportunity for students to acquire hands-on experience operating agricultural farm tractors. Other pieces of equipment may be added to the program if time allows. Students will operate tractors and tractors’ front end loaders under supervision. Throughout the program, safety is emphasized and students will acquire understanding of the safety considerations related to operating tractors, particularly in a disaster recovery environment.
Why Tractors? Tractors have the ability to do tremendous work and can be useful in disasters for clearing roads, removing debris, creating fire breaks, and a myriad of other tasks. Some of the skills learned with tractors are applicable to other pieces of equipment and this class will prepare students for other
Skills That Serve equipment classes.
Registration: To enroll, please complete the attached registration form and return it to
Skills That Serve, P.O. Box 6284, Arlington, VA 22206, or send it electronically to Pete Rockx (Registrar) at, by May 9, 2008. Questions pertaining to the training should also be Pete at the same email address.

Class Registration Form
Classes in Basic Equipment Operation
May 24, 2008

Chambersburg, PA



Best phone number to reach you:

Email address:

Classes: This event is intended to be a full day training opportunity, starting at 9:30am and ending at 4:15pm. Some classes will be conducted for all the students at the same time. Hands-on operation of equipment will be conducted in small groups.

Transportation: Skills that Serve is considering providing bus transportation, from the DC area, to the training site. Please indicate if you would be interested in this service. (Circle one) Yes No

Lodging: If you plan to arrive the night before and/or stay the night after the training, there are hotels in the immediate Chambersburg area. A listing of hotels is available at Since training will occur on a holiday weekend, please make your reservations early.

Food: Refreshments will be provided for the morning break. Students will be transported to a local restaurant (e.g. Cracker Barrel) by bus for lunch. Donations will be accepted for the morning break, and lunch will be paid on an individual basis.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Hi folks!
There are a large number of CERT community outreach events coming up; here is the list I have so far of events and dates. As you can see, CERT is in demand this year!

For our newest CERT members in classes 31 and 32; here is some information on what these events are like. We put up a CERT tabletop display, which helps explain the CERT program to the event participants. As you know any good display always provokes questions (and folks, our displays are good!). CERT's are there to help answer the public's questions on preparedness, on how the CERT program works, etc. We usually display our CERT gear to give the folks an idea as to the tools and methods we use. We also have different handouts explaining personal and family disaster preparedness for the attendees.

Would you like to come out and "talk CERT" at one of these events? Please contact me at with the event you'd like to help with, your name and email address. Have you helped in previous community outreach events? Post your comments to the blog! Let others know how fun and rewarding these events can be!

Here's the list-

Saturday,APRIL 26th,2008- 8am to 1pm-Emergency Preparedness Fair This event is to be held at The church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at 4911 Ox Road in Fairfax. We're setting up the CERT display here and giving out emergency preparedness information to the participants.

Monday, APRIL 28-30th,2008- Virginia Task force One Field Exercise
Virginia Task Force 1 is scheduled to have its Spring Field Exercise on April 28-30, 2008. This event simulates a full blown international deployment and they are looking for volunteers to assist the team as victims for search operations. This is an exciting! opportunity to see how an Urban Search and Rescue team deploys its resources in the field. They are looking for folks who are able to offer a 4 hour block of time. (Folks, it's a well spent 4 hour block of time too!) If you are interested, please contact CERT trainer Steve Willey for more details. Please note this WILL count as a CERT refresher for the participants..........

Saturday, MAY 24,25 and 26th, 2008-Viva Vienna event.
This is a fair/festival type event; we'll have the CERT booth set up there. As I get more details on this event I'll be sure to pass them on.

Thursday, MAY 29 THROUGH JUNE 1,2008- The Herndon Town Festival.
There are two things going on at this event
1. We will have a CERT booth there on Saturday and Sunday. We will need people to help run the booth.
The Fair Oaks Fire and Rescue Company provides emergency medical services at this event and is looking for to CERT members to assist in this endeavor. The event runs Thursday May 29 through Sunday June 1st and we are looking for CERT members to supplement the FD by assisting with crowd control & scene security for EMS teams operating at the event. Thursday and Friday the festival operates in the evenings and Saturday and Sunday it runs all day. If you are interested, please contact CERT trainer Steve Willey for more details. Please note this will NOT count as a CERT refresher.

Saturday, May 31, 2008 8am to 1pm-Emergency preparedness fair,Alexandria,VA
This event will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints meeting hall in the Kingstowne area. The tentative times are from 8am to 2pm. As I get the specific address where this is to be held, I will certainly pass it on. We will have our CERT booth there, and will be "talking CERT" and passing out emergency preparedness info to the attendees here.
The interesting part of this event is that CERT teams from Alexandria city CERT and Arlington county CERT will also be there with booths and information. This will be a golden oppurtunity to meet with and "talk CERT" with teams from other local counties!

Friday, June 6 through Sunday June 8th,2008-CELEBRATE FAIRFAX
Celebrate Fairfax is the "high profile event" of the summer; this large fair is held on the grounds of the Fairfax County government center. We will have a booth at this event on Saturday and Sunday; and we'll need plenty of help staffing the booth.
( Last year we had 12 CERT's in shifts helping run the booth.)If I remember correctly, almost 600,000 people attended Celebrate Fairfax last year.
In addition, the fire department provides emergency services for this event and is looking for CERT to integrate into this effort. CERT trainer Steve Willey is the lead contact for this plan. The current operations plan does not include CERT in an operational capacity, and this is an excellent opportunity to get your foot in the door to assist in such a well publicized event. If you are interested in developing a plan to assist, please contact Steve Willey: for more details.
PLEASE NOTE- Sunday June 8th is the day for the CERT 31/32/33 final exercise.

Thursday, July 12 and 13th,2008-Town of Reston Festival
We'll have a CERT booth at this event on Saturday and Sunday. More details to follow.

If any of you are interested in participating in any of these community outreach events, please feel free to contact me at

your volunteer PIO

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Alexandria CERT Exercise

Hey all!! Please give Alexandria a hand if you can -- they need victims.

Announcing the Second Annual City of Alexandria 615 Exercise!
We had fun last year, learned a lot, and are looking forward to seeing all of you again, as well as meeting the new participants. And guaranteed, there will be a few surprises!

You are asked to be victims in a CERT mass casualty exercise.
Please dress appropriately in clothes you expect may get dirty, torn, blood soaked (fake blood), or burned (not with you in them). You also are welcome to bring an old blanket or cardboard to separate you from the ground.

When: April 26, 2008
Report at: 9:00 am
Where: John Adams Elementary School (5651 Rayburn Avenue, off Beauregard, in west Alexandria.)

This invitation is for victim participants only. There are no Observer positions.

Thanks and we look forward to seeing you!
Please RSVP: by April 18.

A contribution to the blog from one of our new CERT students!

Hi folks!
I apologise for not "blogging" as much as usual, but work has consumed a great deal of my time lately. I wanted to pass on this link; this was contributed by Micah, one of the students in the current CERT 31 Wednesday night class. Thanks for the contribution, Micah!
I'm a member of CERT 31 and noticed a good article in the Washington Post that would probably benefit being on the blog. The article published this past Saturday, was called, "Stocked Up and Safe at Home" Here is the web link: -micah

Folks, if you run across a CERT relevant article or website and want to share it with other CERTs; please, feel free to post it to the blog. If your'e unsure on how to post to the blog; drop me an email at and I'll be more than happy to talk you through it. Our CERT blog is a wonderful tool for getting info out to everyone!
your volunteer PIO

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Getting Ready for CERT Training

Last night I mentioned a class that you can take online that you may find helpful as part of your CERT preparation. The purpose of this course is to help you prepare for classroom CERT training.

This online course will:

Provide foundation concepts for key CERT operations.
Explain principles and guidelines for CERT activities.
Preview the procedures that you will learn in the classroom.