The foundation of community disaster response and resiliency is neighborhood organization. Neighbors knowing and helping neighbors after a disaster is the front line for preparedness. Marin County CERT recently completed an update of the San Rafael CERT graduate database and hosted a workshop for CERT graduates in Terra Linda in November.
With the goal of networking, setting goals and a neighborhood size-up exercise, CERT members from all over San Rafael had the opportunity to meet each other and work together for the first time as a team. CERT members studied maps from their neighborhoods to identify assets and liabilities in a post-disaster period. Assets might be grocery stores, sources of water, medical clinics, etc. Liabilities or potential hazards, could be gas stations, potential landslide areas, sources of toxic materials, and flooding problem areas.
The group also saw a presentation on the importance of organizing your neighbors, establishing an emergency assembly area, and identifying resources such as first aid kits, construction equipment, Marin Medical Reserve Corp (MMRC) members, and more.
The SR CERT group will be invited to gather again February 7 at the Al Boro Community Center for a second meeting to learn more about communication issues, neighborhood organization and have a more comprehensive exercise within their neighborhood groups. They will also be joined by the new Emergency Management Coordinator, John Bruckbauer
A second meeting was held in December with a sub-set of the San Rafael CERTs, those who wanted to participate in a Leadership Team to develop a plan for city-wide CERT organization and response. The Team, meeting again February 28, identified many issues and procedural needs required for a disaster response. Discussions focused on neighborhood needs as well as how a CERT call-out could work with the SRFD.