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Be Prepared When the Next Disaster Strikes. Know your Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

Sep 10, 2016 10:59PM ● Published by Paul Spear

Be Prepared When the Next Disaster Strikes. Know your Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). A natural disaster can strike at any time. Being prepared in family or individual households is key

Thank you to Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni G.Atkins and her office for information.
Imperial Beach contact: John French,

A natural disaster can strike at any time. Being prepared in family or individual households is key, but some local residents take on more responsibility in the event of a major fire, earthquake, or other calamity and become contacts for their neighbors and other community members.

I hope you will consider becoming part of your local Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT). These teams can step in during the crucial 72 hours after a disaster, when first responders might not be available because of the many overwhelming needs in a crisis.

Often, good Samaritans can be counted on to help victims in the event of an emergency, but the goal with CERT is to give members the training to be as effective as possible, while keeping themselves safe from harm.

During 24 hours of CERT academy training, volunteers learn to manage utilities, basic firefighting skills, emergency patient triage, first-aid, search-and-rescue, and how to collect incident information in order to assist first responders.

CERT programs are available throughout San Diego County, including communities and cities in my district. The next local academy has not been scheduled yet, but the City of San Diego is accepting registrations through October 1st on the CERT website at for those who are interested in being a part of upcoming training sessions.

For more information on the CERT programs in my district, contact:

San Diego: Carie DeMarco,
Coronado: Ruthie Glorioso,
Del Mar: Joel Carrington,
Imperial Beach: John French,
Solana Beach: Eric Phillips,

For a complete list of local CERT contacts, see San Diego County's list.

Another important part of being prepared, for CERT volunteers and all of our residents, is taking part in emergency drills. A statewide earthquake drill, the Great California Shakeout, is set for October 20th at 10:20 a.m.

This will be the ninth year that California has held the drills, which include schools, businesses, government agencies, and more – and it's a big deal. More than 10 million people across the state participated last year! Almost a million San Diego area residents took part.

The drills include “the drop, cover, and hold on” method of responding to the first shakes in a quake. Experts advise that in the event of an earthquake, residents drop to the ground, take cover under a desk or table, and hold on to it until the shaking stops.

In addition, has a number of resources for emergency preparedness, including information on CERT, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency has more information, as well.

If a natural disaster strikes, it's good to know that we have another group of people to rely on in case our police, firefighters, paramedics, and deputies have their hands full trying to get the situation under control. CERT members offer us another layer of protection. I'm grateful to those who have offered to serve their communities when we need it most.

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