Friday, January 27, 2012

New date for Chinese New Year Festival-4 Feb 2012

Chinese New Year Festival

We need your help. Please, contact James or I to volunteer some time.

NEW DATE: Saturday, February 4, 2012

Free Admission

When: Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012 from 9:30am-5:15pm
Where: Luther Jackson Middle School
3020 Gallows Road,Falls Church, VA 22042
Chinese New Year Parade: 2pm, start from Information Desk

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Outreach - Mt Vernon District Town Hall

Date: Saturday, February 4, 2012
Location: Mount Vernon High School

This is an early morning event (7:45 am, doors open)
Usual Outreach event for attendees at the town hall meeting that begins around 9:00 am.
Crowd is not very large but highly 'community oriented' and easily attracted to the CERT program. Great opportunity for our new CERT members to have an introduction to the CERT Outreach program. Only neeed 2 CERTS to assist.
You will be out of there by lunch - promise.

I won't be able to respond to e-mail until Feb 2.
Call and leave a voice mail message if interested (703-978-2035).
Any questions, call my cellphone (703-887-1421)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Chinese New Year Festival Rescheduled to January 28

Because of bad weather conditions the Chinese New Year Festival has been rescheduled to January 28,same location, Luther Jackson Middle School. We will have a Outreach booth there again this year. Volunteer to "talk" CERT to your neighbors. I hear the food is great! Let James our Outreach coordinator know you are interested in working this event. We would need only a couple of hours of your time.

Fairfax County CERT: Fairfax County Emergency Preparedness Newsletter now available

Check out the January 2012 newsletter

Fairfax County Emergency Preparedness Newsletter now available

Check out the January 2012 newsletter from OEM

Saturday, January 21, 2012


While the danger from winter weather varies across the country, nearly all Americans, regardless of where they live, are likely to face some type of severe winter weather at some point in their lives. Winter storms can range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.
One of the primary concerns is the winter weather's ability to knock out heat, power and communications services to your home or office, sometimes for days at a time. Heavy snowfall and extreme cold can immobilize an entire region.
The National Weather Service refers to winter storms as the “Deceptive Killers” because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. Instead, people die in traffic accidents on icy roads and of hypothermia from prolonged exposure to cold. It is important to be prepared for winter weather before it strikes.
Before Winter Storms and Extreme Cold
To prepare for a winter storm you should do the following:
• Before winter approaches, add the following supplies to your emergency kit:
• Rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for a complete list of recommended products.
• Sand to improve traction.
• Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
• Sufficient heating fuel. You may become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources may be cut off. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
• Adequate clothing and blankets to keep you warm.
• Make a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
• Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or other local news channels for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS). Be alert to changing weather conditions.
• Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle.
• Bring pets/companion animals inside during winter weather. Move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas with non-frozen drinking water.
During Winter Storms and Extreme Cold
• Stay indoors during the storm.
• Walk carefully on snowy, icy, walkways.
• Avoid overexertion when shoveling snow. Overexertion can bring on a heart attack—a major cause of death in the winter. If you must shovel snow, stretch before going outside.
• Keep dry. Change wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.
• Watch for signs of frostbite. These include loss of feeling and white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately.
• Watch for signs of hypothermia. These include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness, and apparent exhaustion. If symptoms of hypothermia are detected, get the victim to a warm location, remove wet clothing, warm the center of the body first and give warm, non-alcoholic beverages if the victim is conscious. Get medical help as soon as possible.
• Drive only if it is absolutely necessary. If you must drive: travel in the day; don’t travel alone; keep others informed of your schedule; stay on main roads and avoid back road shortcuts.
• Let someone know your destination, your route, and when you expect to arrive. If your car gets stuck along the way, help can be sent along your predetermined route.
• If the pipes freeze, remove any insulation or layers of newspapers and wrap pipes in rags. Completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they were most exposed to the cold (or where the cold was most likely to penetrate).
• Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.
• Conserve fuel, if necessary, by keeping your residence cooler than normal. Temporarily close off heat to some rooms.
• If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55ºF.
After Winter Storms and Extreme Cold
• Go to a designated public shelter if your home loses power or heat during periods of extreme cold. Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
• Continue to protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia by wearing warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in several layers. Stay indoors, if possible.

Chinese New Year Festival cancelled due to weather


Because Fairfax County decided on January 20 evening to close the school for Jan. 21 due to the snow, our one-day Chinese New Year Festival event is cancelled. We have rescheduled the event one week later to Jan. 28(Sat.) 10:00am--7:00pm to celebrate Chinese New Year. Same location. Please visit our website for detail info. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you and thank you for your understanding. Happy New Year!!

come out and volunteer for the Jan. 28th event. Word is the food is GREAT!!

Stay safe out there CERT family

Thursday, January 19, 2012


The winter months bring a special concern to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department. Large winter storms can often hide fire hydrants under a mountain of snow making them impossible to find quickly. In the event of a fire, firefighters have to locate and shovel out fire hydrants before hooking up to them. Precious time is lost. It is critical that the fire department has quick access to hydrants in the event of a fire. Locating and accessing an obstructed or covered fire hydrant may take 5-7 minutes once firefighters arrive on the scene.

Normally, the stations attempt to shovel every hydrant in their first due area, but it sometimes takes days to finish. Please don’t let your neighborhood hydrant remain “undercover”.

We are asking that you help us by keeping the fire hydrant closest to your residence or business clear of snow. We need a 3 foot clearance on all sides. When shoveling snow be aware of vehicle traffic. Do not stand in the street and be careful not to slip and fall out into the roadway.

Citizens and civic groups (Boy Scouts, etc) can “adopt” a hydrant or hydrants in their neighborhood.

If you do choose to participate, please send an email to with the location or locations of the hydrant(s) that you pledge to keep clear.

Jeffrey F. Katz
Volunteer Liaison
Fairfax County Fire and Rescue

Friday, January 13, 2012

CERT committee meeting January 17th

Tbe first CERT leadership meeting of 2012 will be held Tuesday, January 17th at 7pm in conference room 7 at the Fairfax County government center.
As always the meetings are open to the CERT membership

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Outreach Event

5th Annual Chinese New Year Festival
Luther Jackson Middle School, Falls Church,
Saturday January 21, 2012.
This is a one-day free event (many food concessions there!)

Need volunteers to staff the CERT booth from 8:30am - 5:00pm.
Last years event was very successful and the interest level was very high. Great opportunity for out new CERTs to participate in an Outreach event.
Will need 2 CERTs for 2-3 hour shifts throughout the day.
Busiest time is from 11:00am - 2:00pm.
Contact James directly (703-978-2035) if you have any questions.

Next Outreach Event will be the Mount Vernon Town Hall on Saturday, Feb 4th.
Details to follow.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Virginia Citizen Corps proudly announces Citizen Corps Super Star and Super CERT Award Winners

Honorable mention: James Sobecke


Virginia Citizen Corps
proudly announces Citizen Corps Super Star and
Super CERT Award Winners
You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give.
Winston Churchill

Although all volunteers are Super Stars for the time and effort they contribute to Virginia Citizen Corps Programs, the following people and activities were selected as this year’s Super Star winners. Following the list of winners, we recognize those who were nominated as well.

Additionally, the Virginia Citizen Corps office also honors a Virginia Super CERT and Special Super Star Award for noteworthy contributions to the Commonwealth.

And the winners are:

Most Outstanding Community Emergency Response Team Volunteer

Douglas Duggan- Nominated by Cookie Ketcham, Virginia Beach CERT Program Manager
Douglas Duggan took the Basic CERT class in May, 2006, and he has been indispensable to Virginia Beach CERT ever since. He has embraced the program and all it stands for. Doug has taken all of the advanced classes, such as Chain Saw Safety, Traffic Control, and CERT Train-the-Trainer so that he could help teach. He has been at every single class since then instructing where needed, especially in the medical operations classes since he is a retired EMT, or assisting in whatever way he can. He manages our website, Facebook, sends all the activity update emails to our 800 members each month and keeps the database up to date. Serving as the point of contact for members wanting to volunteer at events, he also substitutes if the CERT Program Manager cannot attend to take complete charge of the activity. Doug is the liaison with the Fire Department’s Communication officer, arranging for the radios needed for use by CERTs in the field. Doug also serves on the Leadership Team. With a full time printing business to run and a devoted family man, he makes time for it all and does a great job! In the past five years he has contributed more than 1,200 hours to Virginia Beach CERT, for an estimated value of more than $26,500 given to the city of Virginia Beach!

Most Outstanding Medical Reserve Corps Volunteer
Carolyn Conley- Nominated by Teresa Blakeslee, Peninsula MRC Coordinator

Peninsula MRC volunteers serve to protect the health of Virginians. In October 2010, Carolyn Conley, RN, conducted a routine blood pressure screening on a client in an underserved area of Newport News. Carolyn noticed a wildly erratic and while this patient had a noted irregular pulse, nurse Conley advised that this client see her physician as soon as possible based on these new symptoms. The patient’s physician immediately admitted her to the hospital where she underwent open heart surgery to repair a whole in her heart. Thanks to Carolyn’s steadfast service in support of public health, she saved a life that day. Carolyn provides approximately 100 blood pressure screenings in underserved areas each year.

Most Outstanding Fire Corps Volunteer

Kathryne Presson- Nominated by John Oprandy, Deputy Chief Albemarle County Fire

Kathryne Presson is the founder of the Albemarle County Fire Corps program and has invested an average of 30 hours monthly over the past year to ensure its success. The Albemarle County Fire Corps currently focuses on three important programs: a Citizen Fire Rescue Academy designed to educate Albemarle’s citizens and recruit Fire Corps members; a Community Services Unit that responds to emergencies and provides support directly to citizens recovering from a fire or other major disasters and Fire Corps support of the Prevention Division, with installation of smoke detectors within the community.

Most Effective Joint Activity With More Than One Citizen Corps Program

Nominated by Teresa Blakeslee, Peninsula MRC Coordinator

On August 7, 2010, Peninsula Medical Reserve Corps volunteers joined Newport News Community Emergency Response Team volunteers and New Horizons School Health Occupations Students of America for a pet preparedness event. The Paws Preparedness and Pictures Pet Preparedness Event at the Care-A-Lot Pet Supply store in Newport News offered pet preparedness displays and discussions about pet preparedness and sheltering with pet owners. Customers received a list of pet preparedness items available in the store and their location. The store manager also set up a pet preparedness display with necessary items for complete pet preparedness. Every 30 minutes, Dr. Sam Tate, DVM and an MRC volunteer, would discuss with customers the need to prepare pets and how simple it is to do so, placing emphasis on practicing those plans. Each pet owner received a free photo of themselves and their pets to have as part of their pet preparedness kit. Newport News CERT was able to recruit volunteers who would be designated for pet sheltering. In four hours, approximately 200 pet owners received pet preparedness materials, a photo, a discussion with Dr. Sam Tate, and learned about the MRC and CERT programs. The event is in high demand and has been repeated.

Most Outstanding Public/Private Partnership

Nominated by: Terry Raines, VDEM Volunteers and Donations Coordinator

The member organizations of the Virginia Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster provided exceptional service to the Commonwealth, especially following the tornadoes and hurricanes. Member organizations have done so individually, but more impressively, they have joined together in cooperative partnerships to do more together than one could individually. The tireless and dedicated leadership of Trish Redmond has helped to make this happen.

Most Inventive CERT Exercise
Nominated by Bobby Gelormine, Chesapeake Citizen Corps/CERT Coordinator

September 2010 marked the first Northwest Naval Annex Tornado Drill Exercise in Chesapeake. Primarily a Community Emergency Response Team full-scale exercise, the Medical Reserve Corps participated for patient care, and search and rescue dogs were able to expand capabilities for a realistic experience. Ken Belkofer, team leader from Chesapeake’s Greenbrier subdivision, had only been with CERT for a short time but was able to coordinate use of the Naval Base's Training Facility’s “training village” – a fully functional city block with 12 buildings. Approximately 40 people participated and paired up with the Naval Base's Fire Department, which was an eye opening experience as to the support capabilities of CERT, MRC and SAR dogs. This unique opportunity created a realistic environment to practice tasks and objectives of CERT training and served as a perfect vehicle for MRC and SAR dog participation.

Most Effective National Preparedness Month Activity
Nominated by Jane Wenner, Gloucester County Planner/Trainer CERT Coordinator

In September 2010 for National Preparedness Month, the Gloucester County Community Emergency Response Team sponsored a Faith Based Day and invited area faith-based groups to come to the full-day event. Various speakers taught preparedness, gave an overview of the Medical Reserve Corps and CERT and encouraged participation in both. More than a dozen churches and groups were represented. They were served lunch and then participated in a question and answer session with the opportunity to schedule classes. This day was effective and informative and a great public relations event for all involved.

Honorable mentions to applaud the contributions of the following:

Wynn Toms- Nominated by Marge Thomas, Emergency Management Coordinator, Albemarle County

Wynn Toms is our liaison between perspective Community Emergency Response Team basic students and the rest of our group. Once a basic class is in session, she attends every class and greets the students weekly. She creates the class roster and maintains it throughout the series of classes. Wynn keeps the new students apprised of any room or schedule changes and answers questions they may have, making them feel like they are valuable members of our team. She is also a member of the steering committee and the team leader of our INFO line, a rumor control/information telephone line.

James Tuttle- Nominated by Peter Walentisch, Human Services Director, Williamsburg

James Tuttle serves as an advisor for the city of Williamsburg’s Fire Chief, Human Services Director and NRT (Neighborhood Response Team) Coordinator. As a manager for the National Weather Service Skywarn Program, Jim spends countless hours providing weather information to many organizations in the greater Williamsburg area. He is available around the clock to provide weather information using sophisticated equipment purchased with his own funds. The city’s Fire Chief has often contacted Jim during emergency responses to obtain weather related information that could impact an emergency scene. During a recent medical condition that required hospitalization, Jim continued to provide weather information from his hospital bed. Jim helps lead the monthly NRT two-way radio communications drills and has been the link person for the Amateur Radio Operators. Jim is relied upon as a CERT training consultant for local volunteers. Jim has approached his volunteer commitment with a spirit of dedication and true passion for the safety and welfare of his fellow citizens.

Stanford Owens- Nominated by Jane Wenner, Gloucester County Planner/Trainer CERT Coordinator

Stanford Owens became a Community Emergency Response Team member in 2007. He immediately took the CERT Train-the-Trainer course and became one of our lead trainers. Stanford is an outstanding volunteer and is at every event, emergency or non- emergency. Each year, we have a Preparedness Expo in Gloucester County where Stanford is always early, sets up, cooks and talks about preparedness and CERT with citizens who attend. In addition, he teaches a chainsaw class for us each year. He is also a leader with the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief yet he still makes CERT a priority. All this, while holding two jobs! During emergencies, Stanford is invaluable, as he organizes various teams, does Damage Assessment and is always a calming and effective presence. He brings so much to the Gloucester CERT and we are very fortunate to have him.

James Sobecke- Nominated by Dana Powers, Assistant Volunteer Liaison, Fairfax County

James Sobecke has taken on the role as the Volunteer Public Information Officer for the Fairfax County Community Emergency Response Team program. He has worked diligently over the last year and a half to spread the word about CERT and being prepared. James has coordinated events around the county to help promote public outreach. He also sits on the CERT Steering Committee and has helped to guide the Fairfax CERT program as it continues to grow. Jim also volunteered to help develop the new website for Fairfax County CERT and has worked with county staff and outside vendors to facilitate this process. Jim is also a volunteer CERT instructor and has taken on several classes and taught them to citizens county-wide. His vision and leadership have helped to develop one of the successful CERT programs in the country.

Tim Burrows- Nominated by Bobby Gelormine, Chesapeake Citizen Corps/CERT Coordinator

Tim Burrows has been with the Chesapeake Community Emergency Response Team for just a year, but has stepped up and become heavily involved in what goes on. He is an Assistant Team Leader and now our Training Coordinator. He was a Navy Seal and is Master Chief in the Navy, so he brings a great deal of experience to the table. He is a valuable asset to our team.

Jeri Michael- Nominated by Dana Perry, Emergency Management Technician, Newport News

Jeri Michael has an extremely positive attitude and has been very active in the Newport News Community Emergency Response Team program. She attends continuing education and takes on additional responsibilities, such as serving as an evaluator, moulage artist, outreach and more advanced training. Jerri performed 60 hours of volunteer time, which is exceptional considering she works full time. She is a true asset to the Newport News CERT program.

Dreama Montrief-Johnson-Nominated by Mary Loose Devney and Dr. Alan Romanella, CHO Fire Corps Leadership Council Member

Dreama Montrief-Johnson is Chairman of the Charlottesville Fire Department's Annual Awards Dinner. She arranged for the location, contracted with the caterer, the linen company and the entertainment. She is a good manager of people, having the Fire Corps committee members assigned to different tasks so that everyone felt involved. Although this year there was funding for the event, she has, in the past, raised money to support the event. She found a way to feed 200, entertain them, and have beautiful table decorations and linen table cloths. She also made sure all invitations were sent both to current and retired firefighters, as well as the Charlottesville Volunteer Fire Company and the Professional Fire Fighter's Union. Everyone came for a good meal, fellowship and awards. The City Council members who attended remarked at how well the event was run and how welcome they felt to be a part of it. Dreama has dedicated service and excellent coordinating skills in directing the Charlottesville Fire Corps; a truly motivated individual.

Mickey Saunders- Nominated by Bobby Gelormine/ Chesapeake

Mickey Saunders is retired and donates much of her free time to volunteering. She comes in several times a week to assist the Fire Prevention at the Marshall's office with filing and organizing all of the paperwork that the office generates. She is always pleasant and excited to come in and help, and really takes on the responsibility of keeping the filing system organized and up-to-date.

Virginia Citizen Corps Office Special Awards:

Samuel Tate, DVM, Board Member, Virginia State
Animal Response Team

Dr. Tate’s volunteer achievements across the Commonwealth of Virginia are tireless. His volunteerism supports the efforts of Community Animal Response Teams by assisting at public events, outreach activities and education in the Hampton Roads area and anywhere else across the Commonwealth where his expertise is needed. His devotion and dedication to the mission of the Virginia State Animal Response Team is also demonstrated through his participation the Virginia State Animal Response Team Summit held each year.
He was the recipient of the Peninsula MRC Community Emergency Preparedness Excellence Award for 2006, the MRC Volunteer of the Year Award for 2007, and the 2008 Virginia Veterinary Service Award.
Dr. Tate did his undergraduate studies at Old Dominion University. He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1967 from Michigan State University and a Master’s in Public Health from University of North Carolina in 1972. He completed a post doctoral program at Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 1988.
Dr. Tate served 20 years in the Air Force Veterinary Corps and owned and operated a small animal practice for 15 years.
Dr. Tate is the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association (VVMA) Director for the Greater Peninsula, Secretary of VA State Animal Response Team (VASART), member of VA Veterinary Reserve Corps, Coordinator of Veterinary Activities for the Peninsula Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), member of the National MRC Veterinary Working Group and Member of the Peninsula Pet Sheltering Committee. He is a volunteer to the Emergency Support Function 11 (Agriculture) in the VA Emergency Operation Center.

Matthew Hanson, CERT Volunteer, Spotsylvania County

Selfless service is the most important thing in Matthew’s life. He considers that to be one of the best feelings one can ever experience.
Matthew, a rising junior at Spotsylvania High School, became involved in the Community Emergency Response Team as a natural connection to helping others. Due to Matthew’s interest in FEMA’s nationally recognized CERT program, he and his father were sponsored by Virginia Citizen Corps to attend a FEMA Youth Preparedness course in Morgantown, W.Va. He returned to attend the intensive 20.5-hour CERT training held in Hanover County, and, upon its completion, he moved forward to graduate from the VDEM CERT Train-the-Trainer course. The knowledge and credentials he received open many doors to assist in the teaching and organization of the CERT curricula to adults and youth.
He has already become very visible in the Virginia CERT world through his participation in a state-managed shelter exercise conducted by the Virginia Department of Social Services. CERTs and other volunteers across the Commonwealth were offered an opportunity to assist in the management of the shelter and act as victims, and Mathew drove several hours round trip to participate and learn by experience. It is not surprising that he stepped up to the plate and demonstrated his leadership skills by organizing a group of volunteers to gauge how long it would take 12 people to set up 200 cots. In spite of the cots being new and hard to open and put into place, amazingly, that power team completed the task in a record time of a half hour. Good to know in a real time situation with people needing accommodations after a disaster!
Matthew is also involved in numerous other community service activities such as the U.S. Army JR ROTC program at Spotsylvania High School where he is the Battalion Commander for the 2011-2012 school years. This position puts him directly in charge of more than 170 high school students. From everyday office work to helping coordinate physical training, he is knee deep in the logistics and operations of his battalion. Matthew also attended the Virginia State Police Academy Cadet Trooper Program where he was attracted to its number one priority, building character.
Involved in several varsity sports during his high school career, Matthew has been a swimmer for the team for four years and has been recognized for the most dedicated swimmer and varsity captain. Additionally, he played on the tennis team for three years.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

CERT Basic class offered through FCPS-ACE

The Fairfax County Public School -Adult and Community Education program is offering the CERT Basic class in the coming Winter term (Course HM01755, Section 0010).
The schedule is for 8 classes over 3 weeks: Mon - Tuesday and Thursday starting Feb 27 through March 13. Class starts promptly at 7:00pm
There is a charge of $49 required by FCPS.

The class is taught at the Plum Center in Springfield.
For more information:

This is a great opportunity for those that don't have the time for the CERT 2 program and want to complete the clasroom training in a shorter period of time. The CERT Basic program is still being made available for community groups at locations throughoput the county.
We are still considering a schedule for SATURDAY classes if there is interest.
Pass this on to anyone you know that may be interested.