Local Highlight: San Ramon’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

San Ramon, California may be a fast growing community but it continues to maintain a tight knit feel which families are drawn to. People still wave hello as they drive pass neighborhood children playing together in the street.  The local Starbucks barista always remembers your order even with the hundreds of faces he sees throughout the morning. It’s important to have that feeling of safety and comfort within your community. San Ramon truly strives for such an experience, and it does so through the actions of its citizens and encouraging community involvement.

To help strengthen that sense of community and belonging, San Ramon offers an array of programs that give people the opportunity to become involved and make a difference in times of need. September is National Preparedness Month.  Last week, we had the opportunity to attend the City of San Ramon’s Emergency Preparedness fair.

San Ramon Fire Department in action at the  San Ramon Emergency Preparedness Fair

San Ramon Fire Department in action at the San Ramon Emergency Preparedness Fair

This week, we would like to take the time to highlight a wonderful program offered by the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District:  http://www.firedepartment.org/community_outreach/cert/upcoming_classes.asp

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is comprised of individuals and families, like you and I, who agree to help out when a disaster or emergency happens. When disaster strikes, law enforcement officials and emergency response teams may be overwhelmed and this is where, our additional help as community members is often needed.

CERT is taught by volunteers that range from Computer programmers, Technology Sales professionals to Painting Contractors.  Paul Turner is the owner of a CertaPro Painters of Danville and recently awarded San Ramon Fire Districts Instructor of the Year for 2013.  Paul attended and graduated from CERT class #1 and has been teaching the Intro to Emergency Preparedness and the Search and Rescue Module for the past sixty classes.  The San Ramon CERT program has taught over 1500 people of all ages.

The free CERT training course is designed to help you protect yourself, your family, and your neighbors in an emergency situation. It is a 20 hour volunteer program that teaches: Disaster Preparedness, Fire Safety, Disaster Medical Operations and Triage, Light Search and Rescue, Team Organization, Disaster Psychology, Terrorism & the Incident Command System (source: San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District).

Don’t have time to commit six weekday evenings or a weekend class, then feel free to organize a group of eight or more people and we will send an instructor to your church, HOA Cabana, or a home meeting place and teach a two hour Personal Emergency Preparedness (PEP) class.  PEP simply covers the basic preparedness steps needed to get you and your family ready for the “big one.”   Many people that take this class move on to take the full CERT course because they are inspired to get more involved.  Everyone has a different level of commitment.  Many people that take CERT move on to become HAM Radio, Search & Rescue and Red Cross Certified through National agencies or the local Sheriff’s office.  While some simply take the information, prepare their homes, and go on with their lives without participating in CERT. Everyone has a different reason for getting training.  What’s yours?

CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster preparedness where citizens will learn to take independent actions that in the end will likely save lives. The CERT course is designed to help us do so safely and effectively. Upon completion of the training students become Disaster Service Worker Volunteers who, are able to manage utilities and put out small fires; treat the wounded, control bleeding, and treat shock; provide basic medical aid; search for and rescue victims safely and organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective.

To quote, Jean Vanier author of Community And Growth: “One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.”

Recent disasters such as the Napa Earthquake, and, more currently the wildfires plaguing California in addition to our Drought, it has never been more crucial to be prepared and informed on how to react in these stressful, adrenalin filled situations.

To learn more about the CERT course and to sign up for a class please click here.