Sandy Szerlip: On Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)


In an emergency, we dial 911, and expect our First Responders ( Ambulance, Fire, Police, PG&E, EBMUD) to come to the scene and rescue the victims. What most people fail to understand is that after a disaster, our first responders will be overwhelmed, and will not be able to take care of us. Power will be out for days, water service may take weeks to months to be restored, and emergency services may be unavailable for days. It will be up to us to take care of our families and neighbors. Each family needs to make an emergency plan, prepare supplies of food, water, shelter, and equipment, learn skills like first aid and communications, and develop an action plan for different types of disasters that occur in the Bay Area. Taking the basic CERT training, and then joining or forming a CERT team in your own neighborhood will help you develop the resilience to survive a disaster. Meet your neighbors, learn what skills, resources, and equipment they have, designate an action plan and a place to meet after a disaster occurs.

The CERT program for Richmond and El Sobrante was begun in 1994 under the Richmond Fire Department Office of Emergency Services as REACT (Richmond Emergency Action Community Teams). Point of contact: Kathryn Gerk- [email protected]




Free training in Richmond: learn emergency preparedness skills to use in your home, neighborhood, and workplace. Training gives you tools and the knowledge you need to survive a disaster. Lifesaving instruction includes the proper use of fire extinguishers, damage assessment, how and when (and if) to shut off your utilities, disaster medical/first aid and triage, as well as how to form a neighborhood emergency response team. This eight evening class series meets on Thursdays beginning February 25, 2016 from 6:30-9:00pm, at the Richmond Fire Department (RFD) Training Center, 3506 Cutting Blvd. The final drill will be held on Saturday, April 30, 2016. Class size is limited so register while there is space available. To register, please send email to Sandi. If this class is full, she can put you on the list for the next class.



Richmond is divided into neighborhoods, each of which is represented by a neighborhood CERT team. Those neighborhoods currently with active CERT teams are Richmond Annex, Marina Bay, North& East, Richmond Heights, Atchison Village, East Richmond Heights, and Tara Hills Mobile Manor. Last year, the active teams voted to join together once each month in a combined meeting on the second Wednesday of each month. The location for January and February is the Richmond Senior Center at 2525 Macdonald Avenue, from 7:00-8:30pm. The programs are different phases of advanced CERT training. In January the speakers covered triage and head-to-toe assessments. This month we will cover advanced first aid topics such as burns, shock, abdominal wounds, compound fractures, and diabetic emergencies. In coming months we will cover communications training and disaster psychology. As they are developed, there will also be half day training drills. On February 27, there will be a drill from 11am-3pm with demonstrations and hands-on practice of triage and first aid at the Tara Hills Mobile Manor Community Center. Our monthly meetings are open to everyone interested in emergency preparedness, and our drills are open to all CERT teams.


For more information, visit the CERT website here.

By: Sandy Szerlip, North and East Richmond CERT Neighbor Team Leader






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