CERT-trained individuals in the Antelope Valley participate in the Southern California Great ShakeOut event. Photos courtesy Scott Polgar.
by Scott Polgar
Eleven Antelope Valley residents who have received Community Emergency Response Team training met and greeted about 250 people during an event for the Southern California Great ShakeOut on Oct. 20.
For about 10 1/2 hours, CERT-trained residents staffed a booth at the Palmdale event, which was advertised on various websites and local television.
Visitors received disaster preparedness handout materials; learned how to shut-off natural gas, water and electricity; and had the opportunity to purchase preparedness items from a local vendor.
Due to the recent death of Sgt. Steve Owen from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) Lancaster Station, one item that was a big seller was the “Blue Line Flag,” which represents fallen law enforcement officers. Citizens also purchased professional grade flashlights, hand-crank powered AM/FM radios, water purification tablets, and emergency food rations.
With Utility 11 driver Terry Brown, kids were given the opportunity to experience a simulated earthquake in the Shakey-Quakey trailer.
Thanks to the support of Assistant Fire Chief Gerald Cosey, the Antelope Valley CERT organization is very active and coordinated. The organization is a collaborative effort between the Fire Department and the Lancaster and Palmdale sheriff’s stations.
Over the last 12 years or so, the organization has developed a website, has four “ranks” of members, offers six to eight basic CERT classes per year, hosts monthly community-based meetings to discuss preparedness topics and CERT practice skills, and holds four refresher programs for all residents.
Frequently, CERT members are asked to speak at meetings in their respective community about the CERT program and participate in a wide range of outreach events with the Fire Department and LASD.
CERT is great community outreach and provides a structured program to interface with the communities that we so proudly serve.
The Antelope Valley CERT Operational Guide, activity calendar and more can be viewed online at antelopevalleycert.com.