The Sonoma County Library and Sonoma County Department of Emergency Management are teaming up to provide a preparedness education series and Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT) training to interested residents.
Libraries around the county will be hosting three preparedness events to help Sonoma County increase their readiness. The three events will include:
- Your Preparedness Kit and Go Bag
- Family Preparedness Planning (and pets too!)
- How to Stay Informed and Connected
All classes run from 6:30 to 8 p.m., and are being held locally at the following dates and locations.
- Windsor Library: Wednesdays, Jan. 29, Feb. 5 and 12
- Cloverdale Library: Wednesdays, Feb. 19, 26 and March 4
- Guerneville Library: Mondays, March 9, 16 and 23.
- Healdsburg Library Wednesdays, April 22, 29 and May 6.
- Central Library: Wednesdays, Sept. 2, 9 and 16.
- Sebastopol Library: Wednesdays, Sept. 23, 30 and Oct. 7.
See the SoCoEmergency Event Calendar (socoemergency.org/events/2020-01/) for full listing of dates, times and places of classes in this series at all branches, or check with the Sonoma County Library for more details. No reservations necessary.
In addition, the county will be providing Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT) training for various groups over the next year.
The trainings will be run by Geoff Peters, a former military police officer with training in first aid. Peters lives in Cloverdale and formed the volunteer Highland Ranch Fire Brigade for self defense of his farm and his neighbors’ properties and trained on a private pumper fire truck. He received his own CERT training in Marin County and completed CERT “Train the Trainer” program. He trained as a CERT Program Manager at Los Angeles Fire Department.
In addition he has more than 30 years teaching experience in graduate schools and adult continuing education programs.
According to Peters, participants will learn “first aid, light search and rescue, triage, disaster psychology, incident command structure, fire chemistry and fire suppression using extinguishers, and topics related especially to wildfires and earthquakes. The program concludes after about 18 hours of classroom instruction and practice exercises with two mass casualty incident disaster simulations for an additional six hours — one in the morning and one in the afternoon on April 11.”
The sessions have a minimum age of 15 1/2, and there is no upper age limit. Individuals with mobility issues should not discount the training, according to Peters, because they can be trained in radio communications, among other things not requiring extensive mobility. There is no citizenship requirement to become certified, but certified participants will be required to take an oath of office as a Disaster Assistance Worker should they choose to volunteer.
“Our goal is to have well-trained volunteers helping their neighbors so that first responders can do jobs that only they are trained to do,” Peters said. “A better prepared community is a safer one and a community where neighbors help each other is a better one to live in.”
Cloverdale will host the first event from Jan. 8 to April 18 for teens at Cloverdale High School from 2:50 to 5 p.m. This is class one of 14 each Wednesday in January, February, March and April 1, 8, with a final session April 11 to complete certification.
“For many families where both parents work, their opportunities for disaster preparedness education is limited,” Peters said. “Having a son or daughter who has been trained to be prepared gives that family a real advantage when a disaster happens.
“For CERT trained volunteers, the first rule is to take care of yourself and your family before volunteering to help your community,” he continued. “Further, much of CERT training can lead to better preparedness in non-disaster emergencies like injuries from falling or car accidents or a stovetop fire or a gas leak. Trained CERTs can often become trained good Samaritan neighbors in non-disaster emergencies. Skills like stopping the bleeding, clearing the airway, splinting and bandaging, safe victim extrication, all can be useful in an household or other non-disaster emergency.”
Cloverdale High School is located at 509 North Cloverdale Blvd.
There will also be a CERT training series for adults in Geyserville in January. This program will educate volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their area and train them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations. The idea is to offer a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization that professional responders can rely on during disaster situations, which allows them to focus on more complex tasks.
The classes take place on Jan. 13, 14 and 15, with a final session April 11 to complete certification. The classes take place at the Vineyard Club on Rockmound Road in Geyserville.
In February, Cloverdale will play host to a “live fire” training event for CERT volunteers, both teens and adults.
“Nearly everyone knows what a fire extinguisher looks like, few know how to use it and fewer have actually ever used one,” Peters said. “With appropriate safe guards and in the presence of real firefighters, we create a contained live fire and then practice how to safely extinguish it so that all trained CERTs can use that skill as needed in the future.”
Three classes are scheduled for Feb. 22, 26 and March 7, and with a final session April 11 to complete certification. This event takes place at the Cloverdale Fire Department, 451 South Cloverdale Blvd.
For information on any of the CERT training sessions Contact Geoff Peters (301-675-7741 or firstname.lastname@example.org).