Community Emergency Response Team
What is CERT?
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a committee of the Monta Loma Neighborhood Association (MLNA). CERT’s purpose is to provide assistance to the residents of the Monta Loma neighborhood during an emergency, particularly a major emergency when city emergency responders are not available. Monta Loma Neighborhood CERT (MLN-CERT) holds meetings on the second Saturday of every month at our trailer at the Monta Loma Elementary School.
The team is made up of Monta Loma residents who want to help their neighbors in the event of a disaster. They also want to learn how to be prepared before a disaster strikes. Many of the members have completed the free city training in CERT, but completing the class is not a requirement to join. MLN-CERT is always looking for new members, and anyone interested in joining should contact Tim Slattery, or another member of the MLN-CERT group. We especially would like to have volunteers with special skills, such as medical or ERT training and ham radio operators, to help expand our skills and training.
Useful CERT links
MLN-CERT published a new map of Monta Loma in 2016.
Disaster-preparedness information distributed in 2018 is here.
As a member of the Association of Mountain View Neighborhood CERTs (AMVNC), a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, MLN-CERT may accept donations that may be tax deductible. Contact Tim Slattery for more information.
Mountain View offers free CERT courses
Is your neighbor ready for an emergency?
In the event of a disaster, MLN-CERT members must concentrate on providing help to the maximum number of people in the least amount of time. Therefore, they won’t be able to promise help to any individual or group. CERT teams must base their actions on the specific needs of the disaster, which might give priority to actions other than helping those individuals or groups. House-bound or vulnerable residents need to plan ahead with their neighbors to help them when needed. Some resources to begin preparation are:
The goal of CERT in a disaster is to help the most people in the shortest time possible. How we go about that is dependent on the specific conditions of the disaster. However, there are principles that will always apply:
- We will assist the City of Mountain View Emergency Operation Center by gathering data on damage and conditions within the Monta Loma neighborhood so that the city can deploy resources most effectively.
- We will set up a command post that can act as base for assistance (e.g., first-aid). The command post will enable communication between neighbors and between the neighborhood and the city.
- Within the scope of CERT training, we will provide first-aid, light search and rescue, and fire mitigation in the neighborhood.
To prepare for a disaster, MLN-CERT trains for all of these tasks. We participate in the twice-a-year city-wide drills, during which we practice communicating with the city and setting up our command post. Throughout the year we review and refine our written procedures for setting up the command post and the job descriptions within the command post. At neighborhood events, MLN-CERT passes out disaster-preparedness materials. Members also attend refresher training courses provided by the city to keep our skills sharp.
CERT ICS Positions
MLN-CERT is organized around the Incident Command System (ICS). This is a nationally standardized, modular management system implemented by all levels of disaster responders, from FEMA to the local fire department (and CERT). See FEMA’s ICS Review Document if you’d like to learn more about the system. MLN-CERT does not implement all modules of ICS, but a typical response requires the following positions:
Incident Commander – Overall leader who establishes objectives, priorities, and strategies. Also approves any Incident Action Plan.
Operations Section Chief – Manages tactical operations. Any teams sent out from the command post to do something fall under operations. In most incidents, the first task will be to send out damage-assessment teams to determine the extent of the incident.
Planning Section Chief – Collects and manages all operational data. Damage assessment teams report “incidents” (downed power lines, gas leaks, etc.) via radio. The planning team collects, assembles, and displays this information so that it becomes part of the decision-making process.
Logistics Section Chief – Provides all incident support needs. The primary task is to register and track personnel responding to the incident so they can be accounted for. Also, to assign volunteers to tasks for which they are needed. Checking out equipment and supervising the set-up of equipment at the command post are also part of this position.
Public Information Officer (PIO) – A position we didn’t know we needed until we had a drill where 20+ volunteers showed up to participate. The PIO’s job is to be the communications point for the public and any volunteers awaiting assignment. This may mean distributing information about the incident passed on by the city, or keeping waiting volunteers informed of their status.
Any member of MLN-CERT may be called on to fill any of these roles in time of need. However, for the purpose of building expertise and developing procedures, members have specialized in specific roles, as well as other jobs that will be needed.
Current CERT members specializing in an ICS position or job function
Planning Section Chief
Logistics Section Chief
Operations Section Chief
Public Information Officer
First Aid Specialist
Search & Rescue Specialist
Care & Shelter Specialist