Logo of the City of El Cerrito, CA

City Manager's Updates

Periodic updates from El Cerrito City Manager Karen Pinkos.

Click on the "Notify me" link to sign-up for email notifications for this page.

View All Posts

Feb 24

CERT Program Update

Posted on February 24, 2016 at 9:00 AM by Suzanne Iarla

The El Cerrito/Kensington CERT Program continued steady growth in several different areas over the past year and continued its relationship with West County CERT neighbors in San Pablo and Richmond. The CERT Program partnered with West County neighbors to conduct high-quality final exercises in the Spring and Fall. Student feedback following both exercises was very positive. This partnership continues to be a very cost effective model for producing high quality training experiences for all participants. Community participation in the El Cerrito/Kensington CERT Program continued to grow with 38 participants and 17 graduates of the 26-hour CERT course which is consistent with 2014 statistics. In addition, there 21 graduates of the November Boot Camp which is a condensed version of the CERT Program delivered in a one-day format for those are unable to attend the full class. The Boot Camps remain a very viable alternative for citizens who cannot make the commitment to the full 26 hour course.

The master map for the 17 CERT areas in El Cerrito and Kensington was revised. It included the use of parcel maps and in some cases minor boundary changes for more effective team formation following a disaster. The new maps are posted to the website to improve customer service in this area. During the year, Area Coordinators met to help develop strategies for how the CERT program can be expanded and more importantly, coordinate a response with our communities during the critical hours following a disaster. Coordinators will continue working on mapping projects, community outreach articles and other projects to grow and support the CERT Program including staffing community outreach booths during the year to help promote the benefits of CERT.

Finally, CERT Coordinators and staff planned and conducted a readiness drill for all CERT Areas in El Cerrito and Kensington. The drill involved simulating an area earthquake; ensuring that CERT members protect themselves and check their homes following the quake; respond to a designated assembly spot in their area; form into CERT response teams and report to the City of El Cerrito Emergency Operations Center via cell phone or HAM radio operator in their CERT Area. There were 286 participants in this readiness drill. Many lessons were learned by the participants and staff. This drill will serve as a great recruitment tool.

In 2016, the Fire Department will continue to present both the full and boot camp classes, provide drills, enhance mapping, expand the CERT website, develop an emergency communications network, create area supply caches, organize CERT Areas and increase partnerships in order to strive to do the greatest good for the greatest number of our citizens and will make every effort to become a self-sufficient community in the event of a major disaster.

Read more about the 2016 CERT Training Classes