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

Jun 13

CERT Update

Posted on June 13, 2017 at 5:04 PM by Margaret Livingston

The El Cerrito/Kensington CERT Program continues steady program growth in several different areas. The Fire Department continues its relationship with its West County CERT neighbors in San Pablo and Richmond. This partnership once again produced high-quality spring and fall final exercises with Department members playing a very prominent coordination and instruction role. Once again, student feedback following both exercises was very positive and all participating students expressed their gratitude to us for producing such high-quality training and the knowledge of our instructors. This partnership continues to be a very cost effective model for producing a high quality training experience for program participants. 
 
Secondly, community participation in the El Cerrito/Kensington CERT Program continued to grow in 2016 with 57 participants and 21 graduates of the 26-hour CERT course. Participation was up 50% and graduates were up 24% from 2015. In addition, we had eight graduates of our April Boot Camp which is a condensed version of the CERT Program delivered in a one-day format for those that are unable to attend the full class. These Boot Camps remain a very viable alternative for citizens who cannot make the commitment to the full 26 hour course.

Thirdly, the Department continued to expand the CERT Area Program by working closely with the Area Coordinators in the 17 CERT areas in El Cerrito and Kensington. During the year the program lost some of the Area Coordinators but the Department was able to find volunteer replacements to continue the work in each area. These CERT Areas will play a critical role in response and recovery in a disaster by providing immediate care following the disaster, transmitting information to the EOC and short-term sheltering neighbors. 

Lastly, the Department believes that one of its critical areas following a disaster will be communication. In 2015, the Department conducted a community-wide drill to exercise the different CERT Areas and realized how important the emergency communications network component will play in the response and recovery of an area-wide disaster such as a major earthquake. With that in mind, the Department launched efforts to begin building the emergency communications network by contacting local licensed HAM Radio operators to discuss the need, explore the steps to build the network, form working groups and set goals for 2017 and beyond.

The Department is looking forward to another busy year in 2017 as it continues to present both the full and boot camp classes, provide drills, expand the CERT website, develop our emergency communications network, organize CERT Areas, increase advertising and increase the City’s partnerships in order to strive to do the greatest good for the greatest number of our citizens as we make every effort to become a self-sufficient community in the event of a major disaster.