Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Opportunities for Actors

We are well into the actor season. Being a victim gives you the opportunity to exercise those actor genes that you have. It is a great way to help satisfy your annual cert re-certification requirements. Also a great opportunity for scouts for merit badge requirements and students for community service hours. Not only is this fun, but very helpful to the teaching of our students. Consider coming out to one of our classes to help out.

April 28--Triage, 2000 to 2200 hrs, Fire & Rescue Academy

May 6--Triage, 2000 to 2200 hrs, Fire & Rescue Academy

May 8--Dulles Airport Disaster Drill---this event is FULL

May 12--Medical Operations, 2000-2200 hrs, Fire & Rescue Academy

May 13--Medical Operations, 2000-2200 hrs, Fire & Rescue Academy

May 26--Disaster Scenario's, 2000-2200 hrs, Fire & Rescue Academy

May 27--Disaster Scenario's, 2000-2200 hrs, Fire & Rescue Academy

June 5--Final Exercise 0800-1400 hrs--NEW LOCATION-stay tuned

We need a head count prior to each event so don't forget to drop me an email.
Email for details.

Graduates of Train the Trainer course

The graduates of the March 2010, CERT Train the Trainer course (see March 28 post). From back row, L to R--Patrick, Jim, Phyllis, Charles, Instructor Pete, Daniel, James, Kevin, Cam, Steve, David, Instructor Tammy, Patty, Bob, Sandra, Cathleen. The photographer is Lisa VDEM Citizen Corp/CERT Coordinator.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Virginia Citizen Corps Regional Meetings Scheduled

(Posted from the VDEM Update: March 24, 2010)
Virginia Citizen Corps volunteers from all five programs (Fire Corps, Volunteers in Police Service, Neighborhood Watch, Community Emergency Response Team, Medical Reserve Corps) are invited to attend one of seven regional meetings scheduled for this spring.

Amy Ettinger, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, will share important opportunities for volunteers at state-managed pet shelters. Winners of the 2009 Virginia Citizen Corps Superstar awards will be announced, as well as the FEMA Region III recognition of Virginia’s participation in National Preparedness Month 2009.

In addition, VCC encourages volunteers to invite community partners to the meetings, such as Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, schools and universities, fire, law enforcement and EMS departments, emergency managers, and faith-based organizations.

Region 7 – Fairfax City
May 6, 10 a.m. – noon
Ken Rudnicki, (703) 385-4856; 3730 Old Lee Hwy, Fairfax City, VA 22030,


CERT Train-the-Trainer: March 26 and 27th

13 Fairfax County CERT volunteers (plus one from JMU) went through CERT Train-the-Trainer Friday and Saturday. Of course, Charlie came prepared both mornings with coffee and all the fixings. We found out that the CERT "make a bridge" exercise is really easy when the lights are on and the lead instructor isn't screaming "5 minutes left." I even put a "CERT Rocks!" flag on ours.

We had a chance to discuss student learning styles and gained insight on how to be better instructors. This is the true value of the course. We have been trained (and retrained by association) in the CERT program but this was the first formal instruction most of us had in adult education teaching methodologies. We also prepared 10-15 teaching segments that we performed in front of the class. You really found out how fast (or how slow!) 10 minutes can go by!

Big thanks to Jeff Katz who brought by bagels on Saturday morning and to Lisa Perry who arranged the class up in the "wilds of northern Virginia." Thanks also to the students who took vacation time from work to help improve our CERT program. As always, you rock.


Friday, March 26, 2010

USFA Publications

The U.S. Fire Administration provides free information resources in many formats, including books, pamphlets and DVD's and many of these are citizen-focused. You can use their online catalog to order from over 400 publications and other information products.

Some examples include:
  • Sesame Street Fire Safety Station Color and Learn
  • Is Your Home Fire Safe? Door Knob Hanger
  • Fire Safety Checklist for Older Adults
Happy reading!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

CERT Graduation Scheduled March 23, 2010

We have scheduled a graduation ceremony for all CERT's who have not received their certificates as well as those who have recently completed their CERT Basic and Level 2 training.
Come out to the Massey Building, first floor, 4100 Chain Bridge Rd., Fairfax VA from 7pm -9pm on March 23. We will have a special speaker and the members of your CERT Planning Committee will be in attendance.If you haven't received your certificate and would like to attend, please email Light refreshments will be served.


Our recent CERT Bridge class were fortunate to have some great actors, compliments of the local Boy Scouts. The Scouts really performed well and earned needed credits towards their merit badges and school community service hours. Know anyone who would love to participate in helping train our first responders? Send an email to for the next available event. Here are some pictures of our victims.

Fairfax Co CERT First Bridge Class Completes it's Training

The first Bridge Class completed it's training March 14, 2010. The bridge class is structured to train those motivated CERT Basic graduates in additional hands on skills that were not part of the CERT Basic curriculum. Over four days, these graduates learned the lifts, carries, levers, cribbing and additional search & rescue techniques. They discovered the fun of training at the Academy. Welcome to our new members of the CERT level 2 family!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Welcome Class 42

Our newest additions to the CERT family completed their basic training Wednesday night. Residents of the Kings Park/Burke neighborhoods were instructed by Terry, James & Kevin. Rich Hall did an outstanding job doing the fire chemistry module and we almost had a ' friendly fire fight' with the extinguishers out in the parking lot. Watch out, we have some very motivated folks here,
there will be future CERT 2's and some great outreach participants!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

CERT Demonstrates its capabilities at the Home & Garden Show

During the weekend of February 27, the CERT Fairfax Team hosted a demonstration area at the Fairfax Home & Garden. Below is an insight into the excellent job that the men and women of CERT Fairfax did during the event.

From our Incident Commander during the Fairfax Home & Garden Demonstration, James Sobecke

In staying with the Fairfax County CERT Training program the following After Action Report provides a quick synopsis of the recent Outreach event that was conducted at the Dulles Expo Center. Note the use of “CALMR” to illustrate that the core principles of CERT were followed in the “response” and execution of an Incident Action Plan.

Incident name: Fairfax County CERT Demonstration at Capital Home and Garden Show
Command – Incident Command established on Thursday (Feb 25) at 1430 hours, and terminated on Sunday (Feb 28) at 1815 hours by James (CERT 32).
The Command Post was located at the rear of the CERT Trailer for the duration of the event. Active CERT participation for public outreach and demonstrations coincided with show opening hours: Thursday 5-9pm, Friday and Saturday 10am-9pm, and Sunday 10am-6pm.
Accountability – The Incident Commander maintained a roster of CERT participants during incident events from projections received by e-mail and telephone calls leading up to the event. Derek Rowan, Jeffery Katz and Terry sent e-mail requests to the Fairfax County CERT members requesting their support. All participants reported to the Command Post at their scheduled time. Sufficient personnel were available throughout the event, however some demonstrations were shortened at the point of ‘victim transport’ due to lag of bystander (GREEN tag) volunteers to assist with a safe 6-person carry.
Logistics – The new Fairfax County Fire and Rescue CERT Trailer provided the base of operations, and secure storage of materials and equipment. The large CERT Outreach display was utilized as the backdrop for the incident scene (outreach table and demonstration set). The set for the demonstration was fabricated using 6 pallets to create a void for the ‘trapped’ victim. Load binding straps were utilized to secure and stabilize the set. The set was designed for repeated use, and the demonstration scenario and actions by the CERT teams to illustrate the basic CERT training in light search and rescue.
Medical – The demonstration provided a basic illustration of victim triage and field expedient treatment of two simple injuries.
Rescue - The victim was evaluated as YELLOW so that immediate removal from danger and movement to a treatment area could be demonstrated. Audience participation was solicited for two GREEN victims to assist with a 6-person LIFT and CARRY of the patient to end the demonstration.

A special thank you to all CERT participants:
Alia, Barbara, Bob & Grace, Charles, Dawn, Dexter, Gert, J.C., Kevin, Terry, Andrew, Jack & Susy, Joan, Luis, Marco, Mike, Patty, Phyllis, Robin, Todd, Tom, William, Judy, Steve.

Additional note from Matteo and Terry
A special thank you goes to James Sobecke, who was one of the driving forces in the preparation of this event, one of the largest-scale events in our outreach program. James' work and dedication is one of the elements behind the success of this weekend. His work as a coordinator during the planning phases, and as an Incident Commander (IC) during the event is to be commanded. Good job, James, and thank you!

December snowstorm SBA disaster assistance available

(Courtesy of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management)
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest rate disaster loans to certain private nonprofit organizations the severe winter weather that occurred on Dec. 18-20. Eligible organizations include, among others, food kitchens, homeless shelters, museums, libraries, community centers, schools and colleges.

Private nonprofit organizations in the following localities are eligible: the counties of Albemarle, Alleghany, Amherst, Arlington, Augusta, Bath, Bedford, Botetourt, Buchanan, Caroline, Culpeper, Dickenson, Fairfax, Grayson, Greene, Hanover, Highland, Lee, Louisa, Madison, Montgomery, Nelson, Orange, Page, Prince William, Rockbridge, Russell, Scott, Spotsylvania, Stafford and Wise and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Charlottesville, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park, Norton, Staunton and Waynesboro.

PNP organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets.

Disaster loan information and application forms are available by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the hearing-impaired) or by sending an e-mail to Applications can also be downloaded from, or PNPs may visit SBA’s secure Web site at to apply for disaster loans online.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is April 19, 2010. The deadline to return economic injury applications is November 16, 2010.

A Joint Field Office has been established. Because JFO staff will be dealing mostly with reimbursement paperwork for disaster costs and because of the widespread nature of the snowstorm (four of the six FEMA Region III states and Washington D.C. received a declaration), the JFO will be virtual, with most business conducted online.

Friday, March 5, 2010

First Aid with CPR Training opportunity

Have you ever wondered what would happen if someone in your family needed CPR or First Aid? What if you witnessed an incident that required the skills necessary to sustain someone's life?

Would you be ready to intervene and potentially save someone's life?

If the answer is "no" (or "I'm not sure"), listen up!

We will be holding two, one-day classes for First Aid with CPR. Classes will be held at the Annandale Volunteer Fire Department, Company 8 (7128 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA).

If you have been thinking about taking a CPR class, this is it!

You will have two opportunity to participate in this training on Saturday, April 24, and Sunday, April 25th, 2010 from 9am to 4pm. These are independent classes, and you only need to participate in one full-day course.

There will be numerous rest breaks, and a lunch break.

During the class, you will learn how to recognize and respond to an emergency, administer proper and safe First Aid care, check a conscious person for life-threatening and non-life-threatening situations, control bleeding, and much more!

Successful completion of the course will result in the issue of a certificate covering CPR (valid for 1 year) and Standard First Aid (valid for 3 years).

Better yet, the class is free for CERT Members!

The deadline for registration is April 16th.
If you would like to attend, please email Dana Powers at

Thursday, March 4, 2010


The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority needs your help!
The Airports Authority will host this year’s Triennial Disaster Exercise at Dulles International Airport
on Saturday May 8th, 2010. This live, full-scale exercise will evaluate the airport’s emergency
response to a simulated incident involving an aircraft crash occurring on the airport.
Your day will start bright and early at 5am, when each of our volunteer actors will be escorted onto
airport property to meet our professional make-up artists and enjoy a complimentary breakfast.
From there… All actors will be briefed on their participation in the day’s events, escorted to the
exercise drill site and safely integrated into their starring role as one of many mock exercise “victims”.
Actors may be subject to brief exposure to water spray from responding fire apparatus, residual vehicle
exhaust and extended time sitting or lying on a concrete surface (blanket provided). Actors may be
subject to simulated rescue procedures, (mock) medical treatment, immobilization and transport from
the “disaster” scene to an area hospital by emergency transport vehicle.
By exercise conclusion; every actor will have been safely returned to the airport, provided lunch and an
official exercise T-Shirt as a token of our sincere gratitude for their time and invaluable participation!!
If interested; please e-mail Battalion Fire Chief Dave Testa at
Simply detail “DRILL ACTOR INTEREST” in the subject line and provide the following info:
From there, Battalion Chief Testa will contact you with further details and arrange to confirm your
valued participation in this exciting and rewarding event. We look very forward to hearing from you !!


CERTs who have completed the Train the Trainer class can now have the opportunity to take the Campus/Teen CERT Train the Trainer class. The Class is held in Arlington on May 8, 2010. Go to to sign up or for more information. This is another of many training opportunites that are being offered to our CERT members this year. Take advantage of them.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March 16, 2010 is “Tornado Preparedness Day.”

Practice Tornado Safety during Statewide Drill March 16
More than 528,080 have registered to participate
RICHMOND, VA – Tornado drills are not just for schoolchildren. In fact, 16 tornadoes struck Virginia last year and not one of them hit during school hours. All Virginians should practice tornado safety by conducting drills at home, at work and at school. Gov. Bob McDonnell has declared that March 16, 2010 is “Tornado Preparedness Day.”
No part of Virginia is immune from tornadoes. They can hit at any time of the year and at any time of the day. There are two things that every family, business and organization should do to get ready:
1. Get a NOAA Weather Radio with SAME alerts.
2. Participate in the statewide tornado drill Tuesday, March 16, at 9:45 a.m.“NOAA

Weather Radios are the best way of getting tornado warnings,” said Bill Sammler, NWS warning coordination meteorologist. “A network of radio stations broadcasts weather data from the nearest National Weather Service office. When a tornado warning is issued, the Weather Radio sounds an alarm followed by information on where the storm is, which way it’s moving, and telling people in its path to take cover.”

SAME alerts stands for Specific Area Message Encoding, a feature that lets you program your radio for your area. NOAA Weather Radios are available at electronics andsporting goods stores, department stores, boating stores and online. They come in battery-powered models and many also have AM/FM band. Some have strobe lights for the hearing impaired. Prices start at about $30.

Everyone should practice taking cover from tornadoes. A statewide tornado drill is planned for Tuesday, March 16, at 9:45 a.m. On that date, schools, businesses, organizations and families are encouraged to participate in the drill, which is a joint effort of VDEM and the National Weather Service.

At 9:45 a.m., the NWS will send a “test” tornado warning on NOAA Weather Radio. This will prompt radio and television stations to broadcast a test message. Some NOAA Weather Radios will not automatically turn on when receiving a “test” signal, so participants should turn on their radios approximately five minutes before the start of the drill.

“Emergency preparedness is everyone’s responsibility,” said Michael Cline, state coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. “Make it part of your family emergency plan to have a tornado drill at least once a year. The more you practice, the better able you will be to respond to an emergency.”

To learn more about conducting a tornado drill, and to register your participation in the March 16 statewide drill, visit More than 528,080 have registered their participation.

To conduct a tornado drill at work or home, first choose a safe area and let all family members know where they are expected to go. When choosing safe areas, remember that tornadoes strike at all hours. Safe places need to be easy to get to and uncluttered in case of darkness when people may not be fully aware or alert.

• Announce the start of the drill.
• Participants should act as though a tornado warning has been issued for the immediate area or a tornado has been sighted nearby. They should move as quickly as possible to a previously designated tornado safe area.
• Safe areas are basements, or interior rooms, bathrooms, closets or hallways on the lowest level of a building. Stay away from windows.
• Once in a safe area, people should crouch down or sit on the floor, facing down, and cover their head with their hands.
• After everyone is in the protective position, announce that the tornado has passed and the drill is over.
• When the drill is over, discuss the drill and ways to improve it, including notification, safe areas and way to get to them.


Hello, CERT Family!

I just wanted to briefly post a note to say hello to all team members I know and to all those who wonder who I am.

I have lived in the Washington DC area for the past eleven years, and consider this my home, though my original home is in Milano, Italy.

I owe this community a great deal of gratitude for making this a place where my family, my friendships and my business can thrive, and I hope that I will be able to give back to this community in case of an emergency.

The most immediate emergency I'm facing today is getting up-to-speed with the Blog!
Stay tuned, and I hope this space will be informative and fun.

Alert-Quantico Marine Base Exercises

Fairfax County residents may experience an increase in noise as a resultof scheduled training exercises at the Marine Corps Base Quantico thisweek. The Marine base will be conducting munitions training from 6 8:30 p.m. daily through this Friday, March 5. According to the MarineCorps, the overcast conditions may increase the noise and vibration asthe sound bounces off the clouds. Any questions regarding the trainingor noise should be directed to the Quantico Public Affairs Office at703-784-2741.